A Neighbourhood Watch coordinator from Sussex has been awarded the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) in the New Year Honours.

Mary Grace from Crawley was awarded the honour “for services to the community in Crawley, West Sussex”.

Mary has been a member of Neighbourhood Watch for 19 years, and until recently was the area coordinator for the Three Bridges Ward, and also the Sales Officer for Crawley Neighbourhood Watch.

“This honour is brilliant news, and is thoroughly well deserved. Mary is a fine example of a caring person who quietly and modestly volunteers to do so much for their local community, with no expectation of any reward. I am delighted that Mary has received this national recognition, and I would like to add my personal thanks to Mary for the tremendous hard work that she has so cheerfully and willingly contributed to Neighbourhood Watch and the community.”

John Wright MBE, Chair of Sussex Neighbourhood Watch and also Crawley Neighbourhood Watch

Aside from her lengthy involvement in Neighbourhood Watch, Mary has been a very active volunteer member of the community, and she has worked tirelessly to help others. She has given up hundreds of hours supporting multiple charities as well as helping youngsters complete national awards (Duke of Edinburgh), run craft workshops for senior citizen groups, and battled antisocial behaviour, working to make Three Bridges a fun and safe place to live.

Mary was for many years involved with the running of the local Nautical Training Corps, a member of a local choir society and has been a key member of the Three Bridges Community Forum.

She has arranged, in co-operation with her MP, educational visits to the House of Commons for interested people regardless of their political beliefs, helped to plant bulbs for “Crawley in Bloom”, helped Crawley Rotary Club with making sure that Santa visited the homes of children in need, and has been a volunteer driver for Age Concern and Meals on Wheels.

In 2012 Mary became only the third person to be presented with the West Sussex Certificate of Achievement on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Susan Pyper.

Congratulations – and thank you – Mary!