Christine Yarborough’s 2014 has got off to a very special start with news that she has been included in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
Mrs Yarborough has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to children and families.
The honour comes following a quarter of a century with Home-Start Banbury and Chipping Norton where she was senior organiser until her retirement in 2012.
“At first I didn’t believe it when I got the letter about the BEM.
“I thought it must be a practical joke,” said Mrs Yarborough, of Shutford.
“Once I found out it was genuine I felt humbled, honoured, grateful and delighted. But my work was aided and assisted by all those others who worked there, from the management committee to the volunteers.
“This honour is not just for me but for them. I’m very fortunate that I’ve been able to enjoy my work so much.”
Mrs Yarborough, who organised a large team of volunteers to help stressed and needy parents, said there were ‘down times’ when funding was threatened, but the team always had faith in finding a way through.
Since retirement Mrs Yarborough has volunteered as a room guide at Upton House and recently joined the Citizens Advice Bureau team.
As well as attending a local award presentation she will be invited to one of the Queen’s summer garden parties.
Home-Start trustee Deborah Hayter said: “For 25 years Christine has trained hundreds of volunteers in the skills they needed and provided a role model of quiet, conscientious, confidential commitment to the families.
“She has also been there herself for families, assessing their needs. Her judgement in matching families with the right volunteer has never been faulted.”
Also honoured is Stephen Rimmer of Brackley. The Order of the Bath was given to the director general of the Crime and Policing Group at the Home Office for services to Criminal Justice and Policing Reform.