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More than 20 Merseysiders recognised in Queen’s New Year Honours

A PENSIONER who has devoted nine decades of her life to the Girl Guide movement was among the Merseysiders recognised in the New Year honours list.

Ivy Gardiner, 90, is one of more than 20 people from across the region who have been recognised for their achievements.

Famous names include Waterloo-raised Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony, and fashion designer, and daughter of former Beatle Sir Paul, Stella McCartney who was given an OBE.

But some of the most inspiring tales of service are those of people like Mrs Gardiner, the until now unsung heroes who have devoted themselves to their communities.

Mrs Gardiner, 90, joined the Brownies in 1929, the year of the Wall Street Crash that plunged the world into depression.

But she has brought smiles to the faces of thousands of young girls over the years, rising up through the ranks to become District Commissioner for Wirral, where she lives. She is still involved in the movement to this day.

Mrs Gardiner said she was given the news that she was to be made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in November, and struggled to keep it to herself – as sternly instructed by the letter from Downing Street which notified her of the accolade.

She told the ECHO: “I had to be so careful not to tell, but in the end I had to tell my daughter. I just couldn’t keep it a secret, but I only told her.

“I’ve been involved in the Brownies and Guides for years and have enjoyed every minute of it. In a way I can’t really understand why I should be honoured for doing something I love to do.”

One of the highlights of her time in the movement was when, on taking the Brownie oath in 1929, she took a salute from Scout Assocation founder Lord Robert Baden Powell and the then Prince of Wales, Edward VIII, who were on their way to the first Scout Jamboree in Arrowe Park.

During World War Two she assembled Jeeps and Doughty bombers at the Lever Brothers factory in Port Sunlight.

Her MBE was officially for “services to young people and the community in Wirral”, where she has been a Sunday school teacher and school governor during her time.

She added: “At first I couldn’t believe I’d got it, I just put the letter away in the drawer, but then it sunk in.”

Brenda Murray, one of the original founders of the Liverpool History Society, was given the British Empire Medal (BEM).

Mrs Murray, 88, of Blundellsands, was recognised for “services to heritage and history”.

She had been a tireless campaigner to see a bronze bust of former British prime minister Sir William Gladstone placed in his birthplace of Seaforth.

Mrs Murray said: “My family are all very excited and I am looking forward to visiting Buckingham Palace after being invited to a garden party there in the summer.”

Other local champions honoured include mum-of-two Tracey Fisher, 46, from Bromborough, who has dedicated the last 28 years volunteering to help youngsters achieve their Duke Of Edinburgh Awards.

She said: “I enjoy working with the young people who are aged between 13 and 25. We have an opportunity to help them grow and mature.

“When they come along and do their bronze they are quite young, and then when you help them through the levels, by the time they do a gold they have matured into lovely people.”

Former Merseyside chief constable Bernard Hogan-Howe becomes a ‘Sir’ after receiving a knighthood.

Sir Bernard, who is currently the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: “I am very proud and thrilled at this recognition of the hard work of colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, South Yorkshire, Merseyside and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate. I couldn’t have achieved this without the love and support of my wife Marion, and my mum, who hasn’t seen this day.”

At the other end of the policing scale, Cheshire Police detective constable Jacqueline Crank becomes, in her own words, the “first rank and file” officer from the force to receive a gong, being awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.

Mrs Crank, 58, who works in the counter-terrorism unit, said she was “surprised but highly delighted” at the accolade.

Cherie Blair, wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, becomes a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to “women’s issues and to charity in the UK and overseas”. She said she was “very honoured” to receive the decoration.

Other Merseysiders recognised include Alice Davidson (OBE), of the Liverpool Volunteer Missionary Movement, for services to international humanitarian aid, and Southport’s John Nicholson (OBE), who was executive for services to the London 2012 Olympics, as a programme executive for the Olympic Delivery Authority.

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