IT is the time of year when some of the nation’s hardest-working individuals are recognised for their efforts in the New Years’ Honours list.
Once again several Hampshire people have secured gongs for their charity and community work.
Hermione Goulding has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to charity and the community in Winchester.
She came to Winchester in 1992 and almost immediately began working as a support worker for the Winchester Alliance for Mental Health, befriending service users.
Mrs Goulding, 76, said: “We acted as family or friends would to help people. “We were rather a motley bunch of housewives and retired people, but it was very rewarding work. “My husband Benn and I both did it for 10 years and it was delightful to get to know people through it and a pleasure to do.
“It is wonderful and a great privilege to receive this award. But I feel very embarrassed by this because there are so many other people who do much more than I do, and I just happen to have been picked out. “Winchester is bulging with people who do an awful lot for charity.”
Mrs Goulding, who grew up in Bath, has travelled the world as her father and husband were both in the Royal Navy and she has helped whomever she could along the way.
She added: “When I lived in Hong Kong I helped at a crippled children’s home and in Singapore I helped at a blind school. “I feel I have been jolly lucky in life so it’s nice to be able to do something for other people.”
Mrs Goulding retired from the alliance in 2002 to help look after her mother Molly, now 106, who lives with her at home in Christchurch Road, Winchester.
But she remains on the fundraising committee for the Children’s Society charity, and has also helped at Winchester Prison playgroup for the past decade.
Mrs Lewis, who lives in Sway, near Lymington, joined the charity’s New Forest Committee 16 years ago, and has helped raise thousands of pounds to keep the hospice for life-limited children running.
She said: “I’m overwhelmed to have an MBE and I feel it’s down to lots of other people’s efforts and support. The committee is brilliant and the community have been fantastic to us.”
Mrs Lewis, a graphic designer, added: “It’s been a pleasure and a joy to do something where you tangibly see what happens to the money you raise, whether it becomes something for the sensory room, a hoist or new beds. “I’m proud to be doing something so unbelievably worthwhile.”
Meanwhile John Underhill was also awarded an MBE for voluntary services to the Royal British Legion in Hampshire.
Mr Underhill, who runs logistics company Doccombe European, began helping the legion 10 years ago by using his trucks as support vehicles in the RBL Pedal to Paris charity cycle.
He was then asked to help organise the RBL’s 90th anniversary celebrations in 2011, after staging a successful concert at Salisbury Cathedral in 2010 which raised £10,000 for the RBL.
Mr Underhill, of Damerham, near Fordingbridge, said: “I was asked if I could organise a concert at every cathedral in the country to mark the celebrations and in the end we organised 40 concerts, including Winchester and Salisbury cathedrals and even on the Isle of Man, the Falklands and Gibraltar.
“This honour has come completely out of the blue, and I was shocked but delighted. “But although I was the project manager it was the people on the ground who helped me organise it and in a sense I accept this for them as they put the work in and I was just the leader of the pack.”