Church fundraiser from Eye receives British Empire Medal

A tireless fundraiser for local churches and supporter of local health services has become one of the first Suffolk recipients of the revived British Empire Medal.

Christine Bird spoke of her shock after being told of the award as part of the Queen's birthday honours list.

The 76-year-old is the chairman of the Friends of Eye Surgery and has led fundraising campaigns for the parish churches in Brome and Eye.

The widow, who lives in Eye, said she was 'amazed' when she received the letter about the BEM for her services to the local community.

'I was absolutely shocked and I feel extremely humbled to think that someone thinks I'm worth anything. It is friendship and teamwork that makes life worth living and I love people and I have enjoyed everything I do,' she said.

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Mrs Bird, who has three children and four grandchildren, helped establish the Friends of Eye Surgery almost 20 years ago to ensure that donations to the practice benefit local health services.

Currently, she is helping St Peter and St Paul Church in Eye to raise funds for a new organ. Mrs Bird is also a governor at Eye Primary School.

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The BEM was scrapped in 1993, but has been resurrected as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations to honour dedicated volunteers.

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