THREE of Woking’s finest have been recognised by The Queen in her New Year’s Honours list.
Theresa Fuoco will collect a British Empire Medal for her work with Surrey Dolphins Swimobility, while David Huse will join the Order of the British Empire for his services to the voluntary and community sectors.
Gloria Holmes has also been honoured, and will receive a BEM for her endeavours in the community. It caps a fine year for Gloria who was awarded the Papal Medal Benemerenti by St Dunstan’s Catholic Church for her commitment to the pastoral and liturgical life of the parish in the spring.
Theresa (below) has been involved with Surrey Dolphins since their formation 11 years ago. They provide access to swimming facilities for 110 members from Woking, and the surrounding areas, who have restricted mobility. Additionally, the therapy-orientated group provide relief for carers with regular outings.
Theresa even drops in on her ‘extended family’ at their homes if they miss one of the two weekly sessions.
The Knaphill resident, 49, currently sits on the board as vice-chairman, swim co-ordinator and is also a trustee. And after joining the country’s best and brightest on the annual list, she said: “It’s a very important and emotional day.
“This time three years ago I was going through my last chemotherapy session after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I had been through hell and back but have come out even stronger than before – it is a real honour to be on the list.
“But it’s not about me really, it’s about making sure people have the support they need and allowing carers to have time out. There are not many places left that offer that.”
Theresa, who spent New Year’s Day answering a stream of telephone calls from friends, family and local councillors, was treated at the Royal Surrey Hospital during her illness.
“I want to thank my family – I could never have kept going if it wasn’t for them,” she said. “Three years ago I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow and now I’m on the honours list.”
Theresa has never turned her back on anyone wanting to join in with Surrey Dolphins and, after quitting her job as an estate agent, has helped support the charity at great personal cost.
Dolphin members include amputees, stroke victims and those with physical disabilities such as MS, Parkinson’s and arthritis.