Honiton woman's New Year honour
PUBLISHED: 08:49 28 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:55 28 December 2019
Years of dedicated service to the community of Honiton have won Heather Penwarden a BEM in the New Year Honours.
She told The Herald: "I feel very honoured to have been singled out to receive this award as all my work in Honiton with the Hospital and Community Leagues of Friends and the Honiton Dementia Action Alliance, along with my Devon WI involvement is done very much as part of a team.
"Having said that I am extremely proud of what it is possible to achieve when people come together for a common cause.
"I passionately believe in a 'community up' approach to the shaping of our health and wellbeing.
"It was the closing of 'The Bungalow' at Honiton Hospital that led myself and others to set up Honiton Memory Cafe and then Honiton Dementia Action Alliance and the hugely successful fund raising campaign to secure our own specialist nurse to support families living with dementia.
"As chairman of our League of Friends I have been privileged to work alongside some very special volunteers and NHS staff.
"During my time with the League there have been ups and downs, we have enjoyed some fabulous summer fetes bringing families and individuals out in support of the hospital and in having a fun time together.
"The campaign against the closure of our medical ward did not succeed in its aim but perhaps an unforeseen positive outcome was that as a community we learned what a strong voice we have about issues that really matter to us and that it is possible to use this collective voice to work alongside our statuary service providers to support the health and wellbeing of all members of our community.
"My time with the Devon WI International and Public Affairs Committee has been equally rewarding.
"We have organised an annual health and wellbeing conference covering many issues of importance to our over 6,000 members.
"I also have great fun attending WI meetings around the county raising awareness about what it us like to live with dementia and helping Devon WI work towards becoming a Dementia Friendly organisation.
"I am incredibly lucky to be involved with so many wonderful people across these organisations, to have the time and opportunities to work on issues that matter to me and I really do feel very humbled for being the one singled out for this special award."