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Queen's honour for woman at heart of village life

PUBLISHED: 14:34 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:02 09 October 2019

Janet Croxson who has received the British Empire Medal. Picture: Denise Bradley

Janet Croxson who has received the British Empire Medal. Picture: Denise Bradley

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A community champion who for four decades has been at the heart of village life in Brockdish has been presented with a British Empire Medal awarded in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, The Lady Dannatt, second right, with the recipients of the British Empire Medal, from left, Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam; David Hitcham, and Janet Croxson. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, The Lady Dannatt, second right, with the recipients of the British Empire Medal, from left, Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam; David Hitcham, and Janet Croxson. Picture: Denise Bradley

Janet Croxson, 75, was one of three people awarded the honour at a special ceremony in Norwich.

Originally from Kent, she moved to the tiny South Norfolk village, between Diss and Harleston, from Canada four decades ago.

Since then her unstinting community involvement includes being churchwarden of St Peter and St Paul's Church; chair of Brockdish Village Hall, recently raising funds for a defibrillator; chair of the Village Magazine; and being involved with Waveney Heritage Centre in the former Brockdish Primary School, where she was also a governor until it had to close due to lack of numbers.

The recipients of the British Empire Medal, from left, Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam; David Hitcham, and Janet Croxson. Picture: DENISE Denise BradleyThe recipients of the British Empire Medal, from left, Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam; David Hitcham, and Janet Croxson. Picture: DENISE Denise Bradley

"I'm involved in a lot of fundraising for the church which involves quiz nights, concerts, garden question times, coffee mornings," she said. "I suppose it is part of my nature because when I lived in Canada I was very much involved with the community. I helped to run a pre-school and wrote a paper for the Canadian government on senior citizens. It is just something I have always done."

As part of her work with the church she makes a point of writing a 'welcome to your new home and village' card to newcomers, as well as goodwill messages for births, deaths and marriages.

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She said: "I think it is so important to be involved with the people where you live because we all need somebody sometime don't we?"

Mrs Croxson was presented the honour on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen by the Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk, the Lady Dannatt MBE, receiving a medal and certificate in front of friends, family and dignitaries at the Great Hospital in Bishopgate.

"I was very nervous but everyone was so charming and lovely, in the end I found myself really enjoying it and I really didn't want it to end," said Mrs Croxson, who attended with her husband Peter, daughter Claire, 43, and friends Liza Palfrey and Shaun King.

The letter telling her she was to be awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours List arrived last May, a month before the public announcement.

"It was a shock and I was quite overwhelmed. It was quite a posh looking envelope; I thought it was income tax!" she recalls.

"I could not believe it when I opened it. It was fantastic but I wasn't allowed to say anything until June.

"I've found it all a bit overwhelming. It has been wonderful to be recognised but I could not do it without being part of a team of people, so I feel that the medal is for everyone really."

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