Volunteer awarded MBE

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A MUM who has dedicated her life to volunteering has been awarded an MBE.

Joanne Griffiths was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours for services to young people and the community.

The mum-of-two has been a volunteer for more than 35 years. When she was 14, she set up a story club to read stories to seven and eight year olds at St Luke’s Church in Knowsley Road, St Helens.

She was the Parochial Church Council secretary for 19 years and even visited the elderly in the Queen’s Park ward during her days off work.

She currently volunteers for the Steve Prescott Foundation and can always be seen with a cheerful smile at the finish on the annual 10k run and at race control at the Taylor Park Challenge.

Joanne, who is a democratic services manager at St Helens Council, said: “I’m absolutely honoured, humbled and speechless. It’s absolutely fantastic to be recognised in this way.”

Joanne is also an international race official for dragon boating and from 2004 to 2010 was the Great Britain Manager of the Under 18 team. She manages the British League and has always encouraged young people from St Helens to get involved with the sport.

She has volunteered for the Duke of Edinburgh Award over the years and is the Merseyside Girl Guiding Advisor for the organisation.

St Helens Council Chief Executive Mike Palin said: “Joanne thoroughly deserves this honour and everyone here at the council is very proud of her. She’s a real inspiration to both colleagues and the young people she works with.”

Joanne continues to volunteer, despite being diagnosed with a serious heart condition in 2011 and undergoing open heart surgery. She is scheduled for more surgery in January 2016.

Joanne has been married to Paul for 30 years and they have two daughters - Rebecca, 28, and 24-year-old Gemma.