Community heroes receive British Empire Medals

Ollie Hatcher, Iain Langdon, Lord Tellemache and Sandra Waspe ANL-141021-102550001
Ollie Hatcher, Iain Langdon, Lord Tellemache and Sandra Waspe ANL-141021-102550001

A Stowmarket campaigner for Guide Dogs for the Blind was among three community heroes awarded the British Empire Medal this week.

Sandra Waspe, a founding member of both the Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket branches of the charity, was handed her medal by Lord Tollemarche, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, at a ceremoney at Helmingham Hall on Monday.

Ms Waspe, whose husband’s former guide dog Edward shot to fame when he became blind himself in 2010, said she was lost for words when she found out she was receiving the honour.

“I just thought gosh, who thinks I am worthy of this?” she said.

Ms Waspe said the Stowmarket and District Guide Dogs for the Blind branch had recently raised another £1,556.02 for the cause.

“We are a small group but do very well with fund-raising,” she said.

“For a small town and a small area, the people are so generous.

“It is a proud moment for the group.”

Ollie Hatcher, a founder member and fund-raiser for Suffolk Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and community volunteer Iain Langdon, from Grundisburgh were also honoured at the ceremony.

Ollie said: “I was thrilled for Suffolk Breakthrough Breast Cancer when I found out I was receiving the medal – it is in recognition of all the hard work from the group across the county.

Presenting the medals, Lord Tollemache said: “How wonderful it is to have the opportunity to give three individuals their well-deserved British Empire Medals.

“I have done this for a number of years and this will be the last one I shall do.

“It is amazing the stories we have heard over the years of people who have done so much for Suffolk.

“The three today are much deserved.”