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Sheila recognised for community services Queens recognises champions



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Sheila Saunders stands in front of the Millenium Map Photo: Lee Hellwing (2487438)
Sheila Saunders stands in front of the Millenium Map Photo: Lee Hellwing (2487438)

A Barrowden resident has received an award from The Queen for her services to the community.

Sheila Saunders, 82, received a British Empire Medal for “services to the community in Ketton and Barrowden, Rutland” as part of The Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Sheila, who worked as a teacher before retiring, has always played a key role in the communities where she has lived by getting involved in various projects.

Described as a great motivator with good leadership skills, she has been instrumental in setting many of them up.

“Some ask why bother,” she said.

“My reply is, as a Christian I believe we are all called to work in all situations to make the love of God real in as many lives as possible.

“Every project has been an exciting experience working with a team of great people.”

While she grew up in Sussex, Sheila said she had spent most of her adult life in Northamptonshire and Rutland.

It was while living in Ketton between 1991 and 2001 and serving as a member of the Women’s Institute that she coordinated the Millennium Map project.

The giant map, which measures 14ft by 10ft, hangs in St Mary’s Church, Ketton and depicts life in the village.

Another project she played a key role in was the coordination and design of a welcome pack given to newcomers in the village.

More recently she was involved in opening a community store in Barrowden that is staffed by volunteers.

She said this was “by far” the most demanding and exhausting challenge, but also the most rewarding.

“Many felt the heart had gone from the village when the village shop closed,” said Sheila.

A group of residents took on the challenge of re-opening the shop, which was done in 2009.

“It has become a very important asset for Barrowden and neighbouring villages,” said Sheila.

A councillor and an officer were awarded OBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Lincolnshire county councillor Patricia Bradwell, executive councillor for children’s services, and Debbie Barnes, director of children’s services, were given the awards in the list announced on Saturday.

Council leader Martin Hill (Con) said: “Both Patricia and Debbie have been instrumental in transforming Lincolnshire’s children’s services into a beacon of excellence and this is fully deserved.

“Over 10 years ago children’s services were performing moderately, but through their drive and leadership and the support of a strong team, we are now rated by Ofsted as one of the best performers in the country, including excellence in children’s safeguarding, which is almost unique nationally.”

Considered as one of the best by Government, Lincolnshire’s children’s services have been chosen to lead on developing and improving social work practice nationally.

Patricia and Debbie were appointed to address well-documented failings in social care in Rotherham. Their usual robust but fair leadership is delivering considerable improvement.

Coun Hill added: “They have shown strong, effective leadership and commitment in vital areas of safety and wellbeing for vulnerable children and adults. Their direct and personal roles have achieved such impressive results and I congratulate them on these awards.”

Coun Bradwell has been on the council since 1997 and currently represents Woodhall Spa and Wragby. Debbie joined the council in 2006.



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