Special honour for Selston superhero

June Heald with her letter announcing that she has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Years Honours list.
June Heald with her letter announcing that she has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Years Honours list.

A community champion from Selston has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours list for her services to the village and its residents.

June Heald, 69, of Bunyan Green Road, was nominated because she founded and raised £26,000 in grants for Selston’s Activity Friends group which provides activities and courses for elderly people, but she also writes for the village newsletter ‘Community News’ and has been heavily involved with Selston in Bloom.

The retired bank clerk will be presented with the award at a local ceremony but she has also been invited to the Queen’s garden party in the summer where she will meet members of the Royal family.

June explained that when she first got the letter on behalf of the Prime Minister in November she thought it was from the jewellery services.

She said: “When I read the first few lines and realised what it was I just filled up.

“It was the thought that people gone to all that effort to nominate me for an award.

“It still doesn’t seem real.”

June has been the co-ordinator for Activity Friends for ten years and they have had free courses on everything from Tai Chi, calligraphy, drawing and playing guitar to a long-standing dance group with 60 members aged 50 to 90-years-old.

The group has also sparked two marriages and several of the ladies go on holiday together.

The grandmother-of-four also helped plant 20,000 daffodils for Selston in Bloom.

June said: “I wanted to give something back and there was nothing for elderly people to do in Selston.

“I won’t be representing myself when I collect the medal - I will be representing Selston.”

Ivan Heald, June’s husband of 50 years, said that he was very proud of his wife for the award and absolutely astounded.

He added: “You never think a thing like this is going to happen to an ordinary person.

“I am so proud of her.”

Janice Fairbrother, a fellow committee member at ‘Community News’, said that June does absolutely everything for their community.

She added: “If you need something doing, you get June involved.

“She encourages everyone in the community and has been doing it for many years.”