Peggy and Valerie are delighted with awards

Elizabeth O'Rourke who has been awarded the British Empire Medal.
Elizabeth O'Rourke who has been awarded the British Empire Medal.

A DEDICATED mum who has supported a charity for more than half a century has been given a prestigious Royal honour.

Elizabeth O’Rourke, 67, who has worked for the Hartlepool Blind Welfare Association for 52 years won a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Peggy Allen MBE  (left) and Valerie Lister BEM

Peggy Allen MBE (left) and Valerie Lister BEM

She is the third person in Hartlepool to be given an honour from the Queen after Peggy Allen who has received an MBE and Valerie Lister has received a British Empire Medal. Elizabeth is now the chief administrator at the charity, which is based in Avenue Road, Hartlepool.

She joined the association in 1962 and started as an office junior when she was still in school. She has since worked for the association in both and paid and voluntary capacity.

The mum of two said: “I started when I was at school, my headmistress recommended me for the role.

“I worked there for a number of years, both in voluntary and paid positions.”

Elizabeth said her and the family were shocked when the letter came through saying she was going to be given the honour.

Elizabeth, who lives with her husband Arthur, 66, said: “We didn’t know what the letter was at first.

“When we opened it and it was from the Lord Lieutenant it was a nice surprise.”

And some of the people who Elizabeth works with were also thrilled that she had been nominated for such an accolade, with people saying: “It’s nice to know that someone who deserves the award has won it.”

Elizabeth, who is mum to Sarah, 40, and Christopher, 36, also has two grandchildren, Elizabeth, eight, and Martha, four, said: “It’s a pleasure to come to work.

“Everyone here is like family and you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping the visually impaired.”