Family delight as ex-Shrewsbury mayor awarded BEM
She was once Shrewsbury's mayor and is now well known for her charity work. So it was no surprise that Judith Williams was nominated for a British Empire Medal.
But keeping her cards close to her chest, she told no one of her nomination which came as a surprise to her husband and children when she finally let the cat out of the bag.
The 65-year-old mother of three, from Frankwell in Shrewsbury, only let on about her award when her daughter rang to tell her of another person in the town who had been given a similar accolade.
"I hadn't even told my husband Stephen, the letter had said not to tell anyone so when Katie rang to tell me that someone else who I knew had got an MBE I said 'well I got a BEM'," said Judith. "She thought I was joking at first and then asked what her dad thought of it. When I said that I hadn't told him she was amazed.
"I had the medal presented to me in the mayor's room at Shrewsbury Castle. My mum came along and we had the whole family there. My three children Lucy, Katie and James were there along with my two grandchildren.
"It was a lovely day and it made it even more special to have them all there with me. My mum, who is 85, was really proud. I have no idea who nominated me but I am very pleased they did."
The presentation was made by Shropshire's Lord Lieutenant Sir Algernon Heber-Percy and his wife Lady Jane.
"I think the medal was given to me for my community service, my dogged determination in fundraising for charities and my involvement in Shropshire County Show as a trustee who fought to get the show back on a good financial footing using local companies and sponsorships after it had been in voluntary receivership," said Judith who was mayor of Shrewsbury in 1998.
She has been a trustee for the Shropshire Welfare Trust for the past 25 years, an ancient charity which helps the 'poor and sick' of Shropshire. She has been involved with the Shrewsbury Furniture Scheme for more than 20 years as a volunteer and has helped keep the Darwin Community Centre open and running it for the benefit of the community and other charities.
Sir Algernon acknowledged Judith's contribution and the vast amount of money she has helped to raise for the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital which has been in the region of £130,000.
She added: "I have always enjoyed fundraising, it's a great way of socialising. Businesses and people in Shrewsbury are always incredibly generous and have been amazing when asked for prizes and sponsorship. It's the charities who don't have paid fundraisers that I have historically supported and I continue to do so. My husband and family have always been incredibly supportive, and still make a huge input into fundraising events."
"I served on Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council for 25 years representing the people of Porthill, the town centre and Frankwell which was a pleasure. I am now retired from this, but I will still continue with charitable fundraising."