Community and charity stalwarts included in New Year Honours
A grandmother from Radstock who has dedicated the past 30 years to running marathons for charity has been honoured for her tireless efforts.
Jean Meredith, who owns Jean's Hairdressers in the town, has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen's New Year's honours.
The 66-year-old, who is a member of Somer AC, has completed more than 70 marathons across the globe including the last 28 London Marathons.
Over that time, she has raised almost £100,000 for charity especially for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent to thank it for the help it provided to her grandson who had leukaemia when he was young.
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Mrs Meredith said: "It is just lovely. I'm over the moon but think I'm still a little bit in shock. When the letter came through the door I just cried and cried I was simply gobsmacked. My reward for doing what I do is being able to raise money for charity.
"I don't do it for any other reason. I have never dreamed of getting an honour from the Queen but I'm just delighted. I told my husband Roy because he was there when the letter arrived but other than that I didn't tell a soul – not even our sons. I just wish my mother was still here to see it but sadly she passed away in summer."
In October she became overall winner of the Hearts of Somerset awards run by the Somerset Guardian and its sister papers for her efforts in fundraising.
Writhlington School teacher Simon Pugh-Jones has received an MBE for services to education.
The 51-year-old who has been teaching there since 1989 has become known for innovation in science and enterprise especially through his development of the Writhlington School Orchid Project.
This has involved students in award-winning conservation, research and horticultural work for more than 20 years with highlights including gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show and expeditions to some of the world's most remote tropical habitats.
Pupils have explored the forests of Central and South America, the Himalayas, South East Asia and Africa and worked with community groups and schools to support effective conservation by raising orchids from seed in laboratories.
The father-of-one, who lives with his wife Annie in Frome, said he first thought the letter from the Queen was a speeding fine.
Mr Pugh-Jones' interest in plants first began as a child thanks to his green-fingered grandmother who gave him his first orchid at the age of 12.
He added: "It has been amazing to get the MBE for the generations of students who have put so much work into this, and I hope this recognition will help us in our continuing efforts to develop initiatives for the benefit of communities in tropical countries. The reason I think we have such an impact when we travel to other places to teach what we know about orchids is because the young people do the training and I think this gives confidence that it is all possible."
A woman who was inspired to become a youth worker at the same youth club she enjoyed as a child has had her dedication to improving the lives of teenagers recognised with a British Empire Medal.
Bridie Marshall has spent the past 13 years supporting young people from the age of 11 through their teenage years into adulthood at Peasedown St John Youth Club.
She said: "I feel really proud to receive this award but feel this is a team award as without the support of my family and the great team of youth workers and volunteers I couldn't do the amount of work I do. I am so proud to work for Bath and North East Somerset Council youth service and feel honoured to work within a great team supporting an amazing bunch of young people and their families."
The award also brings some sadness as Ms Marshall's mum died on December 10.
"She didn't know that I was to get this medal – I couldn't tell my mum as she would have been so proud she wouldn't have been able to keep it a secret."
She said she feels one of the most important parts of her work is helping teach youngsters the skills they will need to get on in life.
Blagdon resident Monica Murdoch has had her contribution to village life recognised with a British Empire Medal.
Mrs Murdoch cooks once a month for the local lunch club and does a variety of voluntary work, including helping arrange lifts for those unable to make their own way to hospital appointments.
Mrs Murdoch is also a member of the Good Companions and WI groups, and has been carrying out collections for Macmillan Cancer Care and the Royal British Legion for a number of years.
Besides doing all this Mrs Murdoch has dedicated her life to looking after her daughter Jane, 53, who has Down's Syndrome.