A Pontllanfraith woman has been recognised in The Queen’s birthday honours list for her voluntary service to first aid.
Marion Hook, 64, will be awarded the British Empire Medal after 51 years of service with St John Ambulance.
Marion joined the charity as a cadet when she was 13 and has filled a number of roles in the organisation. She is currently treasurer of the South East Wales Region.
The mother-of-one, with three grandsons, was notified of the award by letter from the Cabinet Office a few weeks ago but has had to keep the news quiet until the official announcement.
Speaking the day before the announcement on Saturday June 14 she said: “I’m lost for words, I don’t know what to tell people. I told my daughter today and she had to swear not to tell anyone until tomorrow, when I expect her to be calling everyone up.
“I believe I was nominated by someone from St John Ambulance in Cardiff and have been invited to one of The Queen’s garden parties next year.
“It will be amazing and a privilege to go.”
Marion will go to the garden party with her husband Dave and expects to receive the award at a ceremony in South Wales.
She has been a member of St John Ambulance ever since she was a cadet in 1963.
She added: “I had uncles in St John Ambulance and my favourite uncle encouraged me to get involved.
“I think it’s important that everyone can administer basic first aid and volunteering with St John is really rewarding and like being part of a big family.
“I’ve always enjoyed helping in my local community and particularly enjoy seeing the younger members learn skills that will help them throughout their lives.”
St John Wales’ Chief Executive, Keith Dunn, said: “I am delighted that Marion has been honoured with the BEM for her 51 years service to St John Wales. I and the other members of my team value her knowledge and experience of the organisation.
“Our aim is to have a first aider on every street in Wales and Marion’s commitment to keeping the community safe is a great example of this.”
Sixty-five people feature on the Wales list, with two receiving CBEs, eight awarded OBEs, 32 awarded MBEs and 22 receiving BEMs (British Empire Medals).
There is also a Knighthood for Professor Michael J Owen Director of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute at Cardiff University, for services to neuroscience and mental health.
Among the well-known names being honoured is the Head Coach to the Wales Rugby Union team, Warren Gatland, who is awarded an OBE for services to rugby. Singer, author and broadcaster, Cerys Matthews is also awarded a MBE for services to music.
Gwent Police’s Chief Constable Jeff Farrar will be awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.
Mr Farrar has over 30 years police service in Wales during which he has been responsible for a wide range of achievements.
He said: “I am delighted, honoured and surprised by being awarded the Queen’s Police Medal. After over 30 years in policing I have always tried to give 100% commitment to serving our communities. I am extremely grateful to those people who nominated me for this award, but it would not have happened without the support of hundreds of hard working officers and staff who have served with me over the years.
“It is a proud moment for me and my family, and it will be an especially proud day for my parents when they accompany me to the Palace to receive the medal from the Queen.”