A VOLUNTEER who has worked to alleviate loneliness in the Ilkley and Wharfedale district has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Judy Hutton, 68, of Addingham Moorside, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Ilkley.

For the last 15 years she has made a significant contribution to alleviating loneliness in the Ilkley and Wharfedale district by volunteering with the charity Ilkley and District Good Neighbours (IDGN).

The community has a higher than average proportion of people over 65, and loneliness and isolation are growing problems.

As part of her volunteering with IDGN Judy has taken on roles such as trustee, secretary and for the last five years she has been the chairman, overseeing an extension of its services, client and volunteer numbers and funds to support activities.

The charity now benefits around 300 clients a year and holds a Duke of York Community Initiative award.

She has pushed boundaries, recruiting trustees and encouraging each of them to adopt an active role. Trustees have been trained to understand their remit and now a professional culture prevails.

She has actively sought funding to facilitate both the expansion of existing schemes and the setting up of new schemes within the charity.

She has enhanced local relationships with the Parish Council and Rotary Clubs as well as local businesses who give time and resources to the charity.

She was instrumental in establishing the ShopAssist scheme, enabling elderly, frail and disabled people to do their own shopping with the support and friendship of a volunteer.

She also organises an over 90s annual party, bringing together local organisations, schools and youth groups.

Judy said: “I am thrilled and honoured to receive the British Empire Medal.

“It has been my privilege for the last five years to lead a team of dedicated and committed Trustees at Ilkley and District Good Neighbours who, together with our employees and volunteers, have delivered our services to older and isolated people living in the Ilkley district.

“It is a cliché, but it is entirely true to say that the charity simply would not exist without our volunteers and I thank every one of them.”

Judy will retire as Chairman of Ilkley and District Good Neighbours at the AGM in July.

The charity was established in the 1970s and is a local charity operating a range of social and practical schemes, constantly striving to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in the district. It operates from offices in Riddings Hall, Riddings Road, Ilkley.