Limavady Girls’ Brigade veteran Susan Martin awarded BEM

BEM recipient ...Susan Martin and husband Oliver from Limavady.
BEM recipient ...Susan Martin and husband Oliver from Limavady.

Limavady woman Susan Martin is “ecstatic” at being awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Young People in Northern Ireland through the Girls’ Brigade.

The 68-year-old, who joined the Girls’ Brigade in 1985 to “help out”, says the award is as much for the organisation as it is for her.

“I only found out last night, when my friend phoned me and told me I was on the list. I had been contacted 12 weeks ago asking if I was nominated, would I accept the award, but I was shocked and it took all night for it to sink in,” a delighted Susan told the ‘Journal’. “I can’t believe somebody out there felt me worthy to get this award, and I feel very proud.”

Susan explained her journey with the Girls’ Brigade began 30 years ago when she was asked if she would help out.

“My daughter, Caroline, was an Explorer in the Girls’ Brigade and I took her out one night and the leader said: ‘We need help. Would you be interested in helping out?’ That was in 1985 and I never looked back.”

Susan completed a course that qualified her at Officer level, and went on to become Captain of 1st Limavady Girls’ Brigade. She says she has met many wonderful people, and she paid tribute to all those who helped her along the way.

The Alexander Road woman, who is married to Oliver and has two children - Caroline and Rodney - retired this year. However, she hasn’t let go of her strong ties with the organisation, and joined the Old Girls’ Brigade.

The grandmother to Jack, Chloe and Sam, is looking forward to accepting her award in 2016.

“I would say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone, and to the people who felt I was worthy of this. I have no idea who nominated me for this award and I feel I am taking this honour as much for the Girls’ Brigade as I am for myself. I feel proud and honoured.”