Community Stalwart given honour in recognition of her desire to help others

Sarah Rush, from Barnham, has been awarded at British Empire Medal. Picture: Nicky Ellis

Sarah Rush, from Barnham, has been awarded at British Empire Medal. Picture: Nicky Ellis - Credit: Archant

A community stalwart who has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to her village has said she has a desire to help others.

Anne Rush, known as Sarah, was given her award in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.

The 79-year-old is a well-known figure around Barnham, near Thetford, where she has been the linchpin of the village fete committee for 30 years.

Having lived in Barnham for most of her married life, she has also been a church warden and fundraiser for St Gregory’s Church for the last 40 years.

Mrs Rush said: “I am obviously delighted and very humbled to be accepting this honour.

“I was very shocked when I suddenly got a letter from the Cabinet Office. I was just amazed.

“It is quite hard work doing it [applying for an honour] and I actually did it myself for a friend and I know what you have got to put into it.”

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Mrs Rush was involved in providing support for the widows and children of the 18 Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club team members who died when their Turkish Airlines Flight crashed outside Paris in 1974.

The village was affected by the tragedy and Mrs Rush and many others offered their help.

Despite her own ill-health, having suffered with arthritis from a young age, Mrs Rush said she does not let it stop her.

She is a trustee of the Rackham Trust which supports local mental, disability, medical and educational charities.

She is also the current president of Bury Flower Club - having been involved with the committee since 1960.

Having been involved in the annual Red Cross appeal for a number of years she is still, after 20 years, helping out with the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal as an organiser and collector.

“I have a desire to help other people where I can,” she said. “I do enjoy it and I believe the more you put into life the more you get out of it.”

Mrs Rush also enjoys helping village newcomers and invites them to her home for afternoon tea.

“I just think it is very important that people know each other and that people don’t feel isolated in a village,” she added.

“I enjoy living in a village and one must have friends in a village and have people who support things that go on in the village.”