‘VERY HUMBLED’ is how a Woking woman described being made an MBE in The Queen’s New Year Honours for her services to the local community.
Former Woking mayor Rosie Sharpley, who moved to the town nearly 40 years ago, said: “I was very surprised and humbled. However, I feel the privilege has always been mine to be in such a position to help the community.”
Her seemingly limitless capacity to help others, she says, is down to her unique life opportunities.
Yet Rosie, an utterly dedicated NHS nurse, is remarkably self-effacing about her natural ability to focus on the good, recognise a need and, more importantly, actually get something done about it.
She added: “Anything I have done has always been specific to Woking.”
Rosie feels that the number of positions she has held in the community have given her influence to make things happen.
Her local working life in the NHS started at the Goldsworth Park Health Centre, then as a nurse practitioner at the walk-in community hospital in Woking until she retired a couple of years ago.
She added: “I was also a Liberal Democrat councillor for Goldsworth Park from 1998 but as it expanded, other wards were introduced in 2000, and I continued as a Goldsworth East councillor until 2011.”
But Rosie has always put people first before politics.
She added: “When I was mayor in 1993 to 1994, I concentrated on the needs of Woking’s children.
“All these experiences have enabled me to make decisions that affect the lives of other people. Although there are national charities, I’ve been able to identify local needs because I had an insight into where resources were most effective. So I have been able to channel them without making it obvious or a public issue of it.”
Rosie, who has two children and is an avid Woking FC fan, retired from her work in the NHS and as a councillor to free up some time to travel to see her only grandchild, Oscar, who lives in Lancashire.
But one influential position she has continued in since 1989 to date is her role as a magistrate, first in Woking and now at Guildford.
Rosie met her husband Jamie when working at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
She said: “We got married in 1977 and moved to a then very new Goldsworth Park and have lived in Alterton Close ever since.
“I feel I have been privileged to have had an input in the village as it has grown. Initially there was planning for 5,125 homes but Goldsworth Park has expanded since then.
“In fact years ago, when the Bishop of Guildford came to Goldsworth Park for a service, he got lost. Embarrassed that he was a bit late, he said: ‘No wonder there are so many people living here – they can’t find their way out’.”
Rosie is coy about her age and added: “I’m 29 and holding – I’ve been holding on a long time!”
Liberal Democrat Group leader Cllr Denzil Coulson said: “On behalf of Woking Liberal Democrat councillors, we congratulate Rosie Sharpley on her MBE.
“She gave 23 years of dedicated service to Woking as a hard-working councillor and mayor who went above and beyond to serve her residents in Goldsworth Park, particularly the poor and the vulnerable. For this, the MBE is a richly-deserved honour for which Rosie and Woking should be proud.”
Woking Liberal Democrats chairman James Sanderson said: “On behalf of Woking Liberal Democrats I would like to congratulate Rosie Sharpley on her MBE. It is very well deserved for her many years of service to the people of Goldsworth Park and Woking as a local councillor and community campaigner.
“I would also like to thank her for her efforts as local parliamentary candidate at the last general election. It is great that her dedication in helping local people has been recognised in this way.”