MBE honour for dedicated volunteer in Dereham, Watton and Thetford

A dedicated volunteer with the Soldiers’ Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families’ Association (SSAFA) has been made an MBE in this year’s honours.

Michelle Salter, secretary for the charity’s Dereham, Watton and Thetford division, has worked with service personnel and their families for more than 20 years.

She began volunteering with SSAFA, first as a case worker, in 1989 and has been running the division since she took over around 18 years ago.

“I was very surprised when I received the letter,” Mrs Salter, of Yaxham near Dereham, said. “I really thought it had been sent to the wrong person! It’s very nice, I’m honoured and proud, but I really don’t deserve it.

“There are so many people out there that deserve this honour more than I do. It’s really a team effort and it’s for everybody in the Norfolk branch. I really want to thank everybody involved.”

Mrs Salter said her husband Simon - a retired Army Major - was very proud of her, but she had not been able to tell her other family, including their three children and six grandchildren, her news.

“We had a good life while he was in the services, so I thought volunteering was something I could give back,” she added. “I think I can relate well to service personnel because we had 22 years with the Army.

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“Volunteering is very challenging and rewarding. We are here to help anyone who has served in her majesty’s armed services, regardless of where they served or for how long.”

Mrs Salter, who has lived in Yaxham since 1980, also attended one of the Queen’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace around six years ago.