New Year Honours: Knockout day for champion of the Wolds

A COMMUNITY champion who has spent more than 40 years working to protect and promote a picturesque village in the Yorkshire Wolds is made an MBE in the New Year Honours.

Retired headmistress Pauline Foster, 67, is recognised for decades of voluntary work in Thixendale, near Malton, North Yorkshire.

She joins a host of illustrious names to be commended for their work, including pop star Annie Lennox, Poirot actor David Suchet and Ryder Cup-winning golfer Graeme McDowell.

Rotherham-born football referee Howard Webb, 39, who reached the pinnacle of his profession this summer when he officiated in the World Cup Final in South Africa, is also appointed an MBE.

And there are knighthoods

for Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways, Roger Carr, chairman of energy giant Centrica, and Richard Lambert, the

outgoing director-general of the CBI.

Mrs Foster has lived in Thixendale since 1966 and lives next to St Mary's Church, where she is church warden and part of the small congregation, as well as being chairman of the parish council.

As well as writing, printing and delivering the village newsletter, Mrs Foster has helped to raise tens of thousands of pounds to restore and repair the church, its 134-year-old organ and the village hall, where she has organised countless events.

She has published a book, Forty Years in Thixendale, based on the church diary of Thixendale's first vicar, the Rev William Henry Fox.

She said she was delighted by the award and paid tribute to others who helped to deliver community projects.

"Thixendale is a tremendous village and we are very proud of it, but we also have the responsibility of looking after the key buildings for the future," she said. "I like challenges and solving problems and working with other people.

"There's a brilliant team of people, because the things you do, you can't do on your own, and you know there are people who will be working alongside you."

Mrs Foster said of the award: "I'm very pleased. I think it's really exciting. I just feel very privileged and honoured. I was dumbfounded when I got the letter saying this was going to happen."

She is secretary of the High Wolds Heritage Group, which was awarded almost 50,000 two years ago by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This paid for a sound and light exhibition at St Mary's, a series of exhibitions and the publication of Mrs Foster's book and The Wetwang Saga by David Lunn, a former Bishop of Sheffield.