Duchess awards British Empire Medal to dedicated resident

23 May 2017


A Morpeth lady  has been presented with  a British Empire Medal at a special investiture ceremony at Alnwick Castle  for  her dedicated community and voluntary service.

Muriel Harris was  awarded the honour  by the Duchess of Northumberland, in her capacity as the  Queen's Lord Lieutenant for the county.

The British Empire Medal (BEM) was revived in 2012 for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year after it was disbanded in 1992. It is given  to those engaging in voluntary work who have made a ‘hands-on’ contribution to their local community and recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters ‘BEM’.

Mrs Harris is a reader for the Church of England and since her retirement has worked tirelessly in various parishes. She makes regular and valued contribution s to the ministry and supports the community and people despite her own ill health.

Her home is open to anyone in need and is often used for charity events such as coffee mornings to raise funds for the church. For 40 years she has helped a local family who has a mentally disabled son by letting him come to her home so his parents could have some respite.  

She also likes to give her support to less fortunate people in other countries. Over the past ten years she has been part of the team working for the Practical Compassion for Destitute Children, a registered British Charity working with disadvantaged children in Palestine. She is one of a dedicated team who regularly visit 200 children known to the organisation. Her role is to provide financial support, compassion in practical ways and to listen to the problems that these children share with her.  She has also paid for the education of a girl in the Philippines who has become a nurse.

Her Grace The Duchess of Northumberland said:  “To receive a British Empire Medal is an incredible achievement and it is a great  pleasure to present this award  to Muriel who is a  very worthy recipient.  I'd like to congratulate her for her  dedicated work and commitment over many years. She is a credit to her community and to Northumberland and an inspiration to us all."

Pictured: Her Grace The Duchess of Northumberland presenting the British Empire Medal to Muriel Harris. Photo courtesy of Jane Coltman, Morpeth Herald.