A COMMUNITY stalwart has been honoured by the Queen for her services.
Patricia Bulmer was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, Nigel Sherlock, at a ceremony at Elim Pentecostal Church in Durham Road, Sunderland.
Patricia, from Seaham, has spent the past 24 years running a toddler group at the church and was awarded the honour to mark her contribution to education.
“I’ve met thousands of children over the years from all different backgrounds,” she said. “I really enjoy reaching out into the community and providing a service for parents.”
Patricia, who runs twice-weekly groups at the church, found out in May she was receiving the award as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The 66-year-old said: “I didn’t know anything about it until a letter arrived in the post. I was excited, but stunned.”
The grandmother-of-two founded Elim Toddler Group 24 years ago and has looked after more than 600 children with the help of her staff.
“I am still surprised,” she said. “I’m pleased to be recognised for my work, and not just for me, but everyone who has come through the doors of the group.”
Pat also raises money for the Elim Orphanage in Honduras through the group.
She added: “I still enjoy it and I’ve got no plans to retire from it yet.
“The group is fantastic, and the friendships that have blossomed through it are unbelievable. I love it.”
Pat, who will now be known as Patricia Bulmer BEM, was nominated for the award by parents whose children have attended the group over the years.
The British Empire Medal is awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown. It was established in 1922 to replace the Medal of the Order of the British Empire.