Parry Awarded British Empire Medal

A WOMAN who has spent many years volunteering in Chobham was delighted to receive an award in the Queen’s Birthday Honoursby Rob Searle.

Margaret Parry has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to the community.

HONOURED: Volunteer Margaret Parry

“The news was very, very pleasing,” said Mrs Parry, who has run the St Lawrence Club for older people in the village for 13 years. “It was very unexpected.”

Mrs Parry, who lives in Castle Grove Road, Chobham, heard the good news from the Cabinet Office about two weeks ago. “They asked me if I was willing to receive the medal and I replied that I would be happy to receive it,” she added.

Mrs Parry has devoted much of her spare to volunteering since being made redundant from an HR role in BBC television in 1991.

She began by driving for Chobham Neighbourhood Care, giving lifts to local people to places such as hospitals, after being asked by the village vicar to help out.

Then she began helping run the then Chobham old Folks Club, which had been run for many years by Marian Robertson.

When Mrs Robertson died in 2004, Mrs Parry took over and has been in charge ever since. The club has since changed its name to St Lawrence Club and its members are aged from 70.

“But I couldn’t manage it without the fantastic support of the 10 or so people who help me,” said Mrs Parry, who has lived in Chobham with her husband John since 1969.

“What really interests me is how people keep going in their lives and how they relate to other people. The members are those people who have made Chobham what it is and we now have the daughters and sons of some of the original members as members.”

As well as running the club, Mrs Parry ran the box office for the annual Chobham Festival for 10 years, stepping back from that involvement when she became ill last year. John, who she married in 1964, organises the music for the festival.

When not volunteering she finds time to sing with the Guildford-based Vivace Choir and, following her illness, is returning to play full rounds of golf at the Sunningdale Ladies club.

Mrs Parry will be presented with her medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael MoreMolyneux, during a ceremony at his Loseley House, near Guildford, later this year.

As a BEM, she will also receive an invitation for three people to one of the Queen’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace.

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