A woman from Bedwas has been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Caroline Hampson, 70, has been recognised for her voluntary work with the Bedwas Theatre Group.
On being recognised in the Birthday Honours, Mrs Hampson said: “I’m shocked. I’m a bit gobsmacked to tell the truth.
“I found out through a letter that came in the post. I had no idea what it would be when I opened it.
“The theatre group is a big part of my life. I feel like a fraud receiving this honour for something I love doing.”
Mrs Hampson has been a member of the group since 1987 and has been the producer and director since 2001.
The group is a community-run group that provides entertainment, pantomimes and fundraising events, as well as workshops and confidence building exercises.
She said: “I was absolutely terrified when I first had the reins handed to me, but we put on a show and we’ve gone from strength to strength over the decades.”
Mrs Hampson was married to Malcolm for 48 years before he passed away in November 2018. Together, the couple had two daughters, five granddaughters and one grandson.
Talking about how she first got involved with the group, Mrs Hampson said: “My daughter started going to theatre and my husband used to take her and pick her up and I started to feel a bit left out.
“So I took the dog for a walk one day and popped in to see what it was all about.
“I met the man who ran the group, Lawrence Jones, and I saw what was going on and I was hooked.”
During her time with the group, Mrs Hampson has taken on the roles of seamstress and make-up artist, as well as being a member of the management committee.
Mrs Hampson is currently the group’s President and Chairperson and played a key role in obtaining charitable status for the group.
“My first time on stage was when a girl couldn’t make it, so I was thrown on stage.
“I was terrified, but it felt euphoric afterwards. The atmosphere and applause makes you realise that this is a good thing to do.
The group currently has around 30 members and welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds.
Mrs Hampson said: “Everyone has something to give.”
Currently, the group’s youngest member is five-years-old, while the oldest member is 71-years-old.
Mrs Hampson has also served as a committee member at Bedwas Workmen’s Hall, but will be stepping down from the role in July.
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “I am delighted to congratulate and recognise the achievements of this year’s deserved recipients of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
“These honours highlight the outstanding achievements and hard work of incredible people across Wales who go above and beyond to better the lives of others.
“I am grateful for their commitment and dedication to communities all over Wales and would like to congratulate them all on their incredible accomplishments – you are an inspiration to us all.”