Seven Essex people have been honoured at a special socially-distanced ceremony in Chelmsford.

A nurse, an Essex firefighter and community volunteers, were among those presented with the British Empire Medal on behalf of the Queen by Essex Lord-Lieutenant Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst at an investiture ceremony at County Hall in early September 2020.

The ceremony was held with all attendees wearing face coverings until seated; two in each row and keeping strict social distancing at all times. The medals were placed on a cushion for recipients to collect to avoid any contact.

Mrs Tolhurst said: “It is very good indeed to be able to get together this evening, albeit in most unusual circumstances, following the government regulations, to recognise those in our county of Essex, who do so much.  The qualities that are exemplified by all those who we honour are selfless support, a real interest in improving people’s lives and making a considerable contribution to their communities.  Without people such as these our lives and our country would be much the poorer. “

Among those who received the BEM were Mrs Elizabeth Alderton from Ingatestone, a Community Nurse Team Lead and Queen’s Nurse at North East London NHS Foundation Trust for her services to nursing.

She is a leading ambassador and an advocate for district nursing and palliative care. In her role as a Specialist Community Practice Teacher, she leads and mentors registered nurses who are training to be district nurses.

She is a member of the Queen’s Institute of Nursing, and her skills and outstanding services have also been recognised when she received The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Award for Outstanding Service.

She is a strong believer in the need for qualified district nurses who can work closely with GPs and other community services to support safe care at home and early discharge from hospital.

She has also run five London Marathons, raising more than £20,000 for Little Havens children’s hospice, along with organising fund-raising events.

Also receiving the BEM was Paul Pemberton from Southend-on-Sea, Watch Manager and Impairment and Disability Officer with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, for services to hearing impaired people in Essex.

He recognised that people with hearing impairment, unable to communicate by phone or websites or hear alarms, are at most risk in a fire. He worked with Essex Cares, which helps those with sensory impairment, to develop a referral process so those in need could have sensory alarms.

He was also instrumental in Essex Fire and Rescue becoming the first to sign up to the British Deaf Association British Sign Language Charter. and has helped other fire services with this feature.

He has also taught sign language to colleagues at Essex Fire and Rescue and Essex Police, enabling them to understand the difficulties faced by those living with sensory impairment.

For services to the community in Brightlingsea Mrs Margaret Stone received the BEM.

She became the voluntary curator of Brightlingsea Museum in 2002 and despite a disability, she worked tirelessly for a new museum building to replace a dilapidated old property. The new museum was opened in June 2018.

As curator, Margaret organises museum exhibits, assists people with family history and arranges many museum activities. She gives talks and attends schools to encourage youngsters to appreciate Brightlingsea’s heritage.

Her commitment and determination ensured Brightlingsea has a new museum in a new building in the community.

George Wilson from Grays was awarded the BEM for voluntary service to young people.

He has helped thousands of young Sea Cadets from all over the country to benefit from training courses during his 20 years commitment.

He organised and ran engineering courses from Clapton Sea Cadet Unit in North London. He writes all course material and oversees the running of the national marine engineering courses in addition to running national meetings to standardise training. He is responsible for thousands of cadets receiving high quality training.

A BEM was awarded to Patricia Greenhill from Roydon for services to the community.

For more than 35 years she has quietly, industriously, and voluntarily served the community in various roles.

As chairman of Roydon Village Hall, she oversaw a £60,000 refurbishment of the building.  She is also a founder of and runs Roydon Village Market which provides a place for the sale of local crafts and produce

She is also involvement with the Samaritan’s Purse International initiative, where more than 10,000 gift-filled shoeboxes are distributed to children overseas. She leads a team of 30 volunteers running the warehouse of the Harlow branch.

Patricia is also a volunteer driver for Epping Forest Community Transport, aiding those who are elderly, disabled or on low incomes and she is joint leader of CAMEO, a group which organises social events for the elderly and lonely. She also runs monthly club meetings for people with combined visual and hearing disabilities and is a local organiser for the Children’s Society.

Christine Delivett from Colchester, a Volunteer Team Leader at Open Door Drop-In Centre was awarded the BEM for services to mental health awareness.

She is an outstanding supporter and advocate for those struggling with mental illness and has been involved with the work of Open Door drop-in centre in Colchester since it was set-up 32 years ago. It supports those facing homelessness, addiction, relationship breakdown or mental illness.

At the drop-in centre, she runs activities such as a craft and friendship group which she started in 2008 which provides a therapeutic environment for people to talk openly about their struggles.

Christine has also been involved in hospital chaplaincy for more than 20 years.

For services to the community in Braintree Stanley Davies received the BEM.

He is and has been a prolific local volunteer for more than 16 years, undertaking a variety of roles for charitable causes.

He has been involved with the Braintree branch of the Lions Club for 13 years in different roles  and has helped to manage and direct the raising and distribution of up to £20,000 annually to charities.

He has also been an active member of Friends of Flitch Way since 2004,  Since 2004, Stanley and has secured more than £50,000 funding for the  towards maintenance and clearance work, and to fund points of interest including former Victorian railway stations and the Railway Carriage Museum at Rayne Station. He also undertakes hands-on roles, including manning the railway carriage at Rayne Station Museum, lecturing on the Flitch Way and its history and working at Cressing Temple Gardens.