Congratulations to our fantastic Washington colleague Maureen Wallwork who’s been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s birthday honours list for all the work she does in the local community.

We’re all very proud of Maureen, who’s pictured on the right here helping out at an assisted shop for elderly customers earlier this year.

Maureen, who’s 66, is Asda Washington’s community champion. She’s spent the last 10 years making a huge difference to the local community both in her Asda role and in her spare time.

Every Monday she joins volunteers at a local food bank’s community kitchen and helps serve meals to the needy and vulnerable.

She regularly helps out with a local Age UK group, serving refreshments to elderly guests and acting as compere to host entertainment for them. She’s also a familiar and friendly face presenting various seminars on healthy eating and recipe ideas at local schools.

In her own time Maureen’s part of the local Neighbourhood Watch group and will be helping out at a community carnival later this summer.

Maureen has two daughters – Tracey and Jill – and a son, John. Tracey also works at the Washington store in the Home Shopping department.

Maureen said: "I got the letter about six weeks ago. The envelope had ‘From Her Majesty’s Service’ written on it. I thought it had to be something to do with our local MP visiting the store before the election.

“I read the letter and it said ‘your name is being put forward to see if Her Majesty would gracefully award you the British Empire Medal for services to your community’.

“I was absolutely astounded – I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t tell anyone other than my very close family and our general store manager and deputy store manager, so it’s been difficult sitting on it for six weeks!

“I’m now awaiting notification from Buckingham Palace about when and where I go to collect the medal. All I know is it will be handed to me by the Queen’s Lord Lieutenant in a few weeks’ time.

“I am very excited about it all and was very excited when I first received the letter, but I still have day-to-day community volunteering to get on with.

“This role is all about going out into the community and showing people that you care. I love my job and I love everybody I work with.

“My colleagues in the store are so supportive of me – without that support I wouldn’t be able to do half of what I do.

“I’d also like to say a very big thank you to my family. My husband John is very patient and drives me all over the place as I don’t drive!”

The store’s deputy manager Paul Brayson said: "This is fantastic news and so well deserved. Myself, the store manager Mike McNamara and all of the colleagues are really proud of her.

“She does a fantastic job in her role as community champion and does an awful lot of community work in her spare time too. She helps such a wide range of people – the young, the elderly, and the needy in our community.

“She’s really passionate about her role. It’s not just a job, it’s more of a vocation for her and she really drives the store’s presence in the local community.”

The British Empire Medal is awarded for meritorious civil or military service.