TIRELESS community work over more than 40 years has led to Constance Shepherd receiving an 80th birthday present she never expected, with an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.
Mrs Shepherd, who has lived in Thurcroft. near Rotherham, since she was eight months old, counts teaching, bereavement counselling and setting up a troupe of majorettes among her various achievements.
She said: “When I received the letter from the Cabinet Office telling me about the honour I was shocked. I haven’t a clue who has put me forward for it.
“All I can think is that it is something to do with the work I have done to mark the centenary of the sinking of Thurcroft pit, which I worked with the council on.”
Mrs Shepherd, the daughter of a miner, left grammar school at the age of 14 after passing her school certificate and then worked in office jobs in Rotherham.
When she got married, she trained as a teacher and worked at nearby Dinnington High School, now Dinnington Comprehensive, between 1970 and 1985.
During her time in the village, she has been a Cruse bereavement counsellor, a role she only gave up two years ago, and ran several youth clubs and other activities. She was also a JP for more than 20 years.
She has been an active member of the village’s branch of the Mothers’ Union for more than four decades and holds regular coffee mornings at her home to raise cash for Christian Aid.
Recently Mrs Shepherd, who has a daughter, spent a week in hospital and also had a knee replacement operation earlier in the year.
She added: “It is my 80th birthday on January 2, so it is a lovely unexpected birthday present. After being in hospital this has really cheered me up.
“When I was first told, I really thought that somebody was having a joke, but now I realise it is all true I am very grateful to have been recognised like this.”