Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre Branch Chair receives prestigious award

30 May 2016

Mrs Linda Whitworth awarded BEM for services to the community in Blackpool.

After being recognised in the New Years Honours list this year our Branch Chair Linda Whitworth has had a busy few weeks with the presentation of her BEM (Medallist of the Order of the British Empire) at Lancaster Castle and the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace!

On Friday the 13th of May longstanding Bloodwise Branch members Marjorie Wilkinson, Dorothy Brayshaw and I were lucky enough to be invited along to the majestic surroundings of Lancaster Castle for the prestigious awards ceremony. Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, The Lord Shuttleworth KCVO, made the presentations, the Investiture was carried out in the stunning Shire Hall by Lord Shuttleworth, who is Her Majesty's representative in the County. Linda’s award was in recognition of her services to the community in Blackpool.  

As the citation stated Linda has been a long standing member of the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre branch of Bloodwise, and was elected Chairman in 1989. She supports branch members with organising and hosting fundraising events, and through the collections the branch has raised in excess of £620,000. For the past 30 years, she has also been a member of Bispham All Hallows Church, helping countless people in her role as Pastoral Auxiliary. On top of all this Linda finds time to be a fully participating member of the local amateur dramatics group playing a variety of comedy and dramatic roles, directing a number of award winning plays, undertaking the role of Patron’s secretary responsible for financial and social matters and acting as a bereavement councillor to many of the members. A tenacious organiser, collector and fundraiser - her impact has been and continues to be felt throughout the community.

Then just under a week later Linda and her husband Jim travelled to London for the Garden party. Linda told me all about her day at the palace! She said “We were so fortunate with the weather at the Garden Party.  After a very damp day on the Wednesday, Thursday turned out warm and sunny by the afternoon, and it only started to rain as we got back to our hotel.  We ate lovely cucumber sandwiches, cake and ice-cream -- beautifully served -- and we were allowed to wander throughout the gardens, which are so pleasant and calming.  Two bands were playing throughout, and we were in the line where the Duke of Edinburgh came along.  He stopped to speak to people near us.  The lady and her son we were standing with came from Cumbria, and she, too, had been awarded the BEM -- and she was 90!! We all made our way out via the Palace itself, and through the courtyard that you see on TV, when the coaches and cars go through the main archway.”

Linda said “Both the Presentation and the Garden Party were wonderful experiences, and I felt very privileged to have such happy occasions to treasure.  I felt the Presentation was a really intimate and joyful evening, and everyone was so friendly -- I think we all relaxed and felt "at home"."