Fringe Box



Shirley West BEM Talks To The Guildford Dragon NEWS

Published on: 29 Dec, 2012
Updated on: 30 Dec, 2012
Shirley West BEM

Shirley West BEM, with the letter that informed her of her award

Shirley West spoke excitedly to The Guildford Dragon NEWS today following the announcement of her award of a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to charity.

She first knew that she was to be given an award in late November when she received a letter from the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. The letter informed her that she had to keep the news confidential until it was formally announced.

“I was absolutely thrilled when I received the letter. Actually, I cried with joy. I felt so proud.

“Of course, you don’t get these these awards for doing things on your own. I also want to thank everyone who has helped and supported me over the years. I can never thank them enough.

“I know some of those that nominated me and I would like to thank them too. Bill Bellerby [former councillor and mayor] told me he would never give up until I was given an award and I know that in addition to Bill and his wife Doreen [both themselves MBEs] there was our MP, Anne Milton, several of the past mayors of Guildford, Tony Gorman, some of those that attend the Park Park Centre and some fellow members of the Castle Green Bowling Club.

“My family have been very supportive too.  My two sons, Gary and Spencer and their families, my three surviving sisters and, of course, my husband Brian who is always there for me.” Brian chips in: “I love her doing it. It keeps her happy.”

“I first starting organising fund raising after a time when I needed some medical treatment myself. Some equipment was required but it was not available so once I recovered, together with a friend, Maureen Lemin, I raised more than enough money within three months and we used the surplus on the children’s and gynaecological wards.

“People might know me best for my work with the British Heart Foundation, but I am involved with several other charities too such as the Macmillan Trust and Project Peru. I get a real buzz when I hear of a new challenge to go for. The next is a launch event for more BHF fund-raising at Spectrum sports centre on 21st January.

“With Terrie Bennett, Jill Wilkins and Sharon Gunner I have also started up a charity called Precious Friends. We organise quizzes to raise money so that we can help those with insufficient funds to support their loved ones.”

Born and raised in Drummond Road, Guildford, Shirley, the youngest of eight children, is very proud of her home town: “I quickly miss Guildford when we go away. We are very lucky to live in such a beautiful, historic and safe town. Sometimes it is portrayed as a snobby, conservative place where everyone is well off but that is not my experience. There is plenty of community spirit in all sections, I would say.

“So many people have helped me over the years I can’t mention them all. Recently Jane Standing the manager at the Holiday Inn and Sue Keeley from Tesco have been particularly helpful. Their support is always second to none.”

Asked why the award of a BEM is so special, Shirley is very clear: “Because it comes from the Queen and I love her to death. As all my friends know, give me a Union Jack and I’m off!”

Plans for the investiture are not yet known, but The Guildford Dragon NEWS hopes to bring you pictures and a report when it does take place.

Share This Post

Responses to Shirley West BEM Talks To The Guildford Dragon NEWS

  1. Nick & Julie Hinde Reply

    December 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Julie and I bowl at Castle Green Bowling Club and the tireless works we know Shirley West does is tremendous for all her charities she helps. She is so busy wfth them all, BHF and et al. How does she find time to play bowls at Castle Green and reach the Bowls Club finals and win some. With all this she puts everyone else into the shade. It takes a lot of believing all that Shirley West does. Nick & Julie Hinde

  2. Paula Rogers-Hulme Reply

    January 4, 2013 at 5:19 am

    Many congratulations Shirley, what a fabulous award for all your hard work! With lots of love from Paula, Jamie and children, Gold Coast, Australia.

  3. Mary Redgwell Reply

    April 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Shirley is an inspiration to all showing how hard work and dedication achieve results. However, what makes Shirley truly special is that she always finds time for her family and friends.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *