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Skydiving Methodist (82) receives MBE for children's charity fundraising

A Derby octogenarian has received an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list after helping to raise £750,000 over 78 years for a national children's charity ...

A Derby octogenarian has received an MBE in the Queen’s birthday list for her lifetime dedication to charity, after helping to raise £750,000 over 78 years.
 
Barbara Smith, 82, has been raising money for Action for Children since she was four years old, when she helped her mother collect for the charity. Over the decades she has hosted hundreds of events and house-to-house collections in support of vulnerable children and young people, and is so committed that she even took part in a sponsored skydive to mark her 80th birthday.
 
Barbara, said: “I received the letter at the beginning of May and almost threw it away as I thought it was just another European elections leaflet!
 
“It was only when I noticed the Prime Minister’s Office stamp that I opened it. I couldn’t believe it and had to keep re-reading it for the next few days.
 
“I’m absolutely delighted to receive the honour, but I would never have been able to raise so much over the years without the generosity of those who’ve donated and the support of my close friends at Ashbourne Road Methodist Church.”
 
The honour comes after Barbara was awarded an accolade from the Institute of Fundraising last year for her achievements. She was also singled out for special praise at the Charity Staff and Volunteers Awards 2014, where judges recognised her devotion to Action for Children with an award for ‘outstanding dedication’ – a category created especially for Barbara.
 
Chief executive of Action for Children, Sir Tony Hawkhead, said: “Barbara is an extraordinary and remarkable woman. Her tireless efforts over an amazing 78 years have helped us improve the lives of countless vulnerable children, young people and families. She is an inspirational lady and an exceptionally dedicated supporter – even going so far as to throw herself out of an aeroplane to raise funds!
 
“I would like to extend both my congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to Barbara on behalf of everyone she has helped at Action for Children. This honour is truly deserved.”
 
Her Majesty The Queen is Patron of Action for Children.

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