Charity fundraisers around the country honoured by the Queen

Margaret Payne and Dabirul Islam Choudhury
Margaret Payne and Dabirul Islam Choudhury
18:58pm, Sat 10 Oct 2020
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Fundraisers who gathered support for charities during the coronavirus pandemic, including a 100-year-old man from London, have been honoured by the Queen.

This year’s Birthday Honours was postponed from June in order to include people like fundraisers and volunteers who have been instrumental in the fight against coronavirus.

While the vast majority of charitable feats this year were in aid of the NHS, fundraisers for Covid-19 relief, Alzheimer’s Research UK and local hospices were included.

These are some of the ordinary coronavirus heroes honoured who you might have missed.

– Dabirul Islam Choudhury, 100, made an OBE for walking 970 laps of his garden in London

Dabirul Islam Choudhury, aged 100, raised more than £420,000 by walking 970 laps of his garden in Bow, east London, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Mr Choudhury has been made an OBE for his efforts.

He said: “I feel proud they have honoured me for the efforts I have done. I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart.”

Of the total raised, nearly £116,000 was donated to the NHS while the remaining amount was divided between 30 charities in 52 countries as part of the Ramadan Family Commitment Covid-19 crisis initiative, run by British-Bangladeshi television broadcaster Channel S.

– Margaret Payne, 90, honoured with a British Empire Medal for a fundraising ‘mountain climb’ on her stairs

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A 90-year-old woman who has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity by climbing the equivalent of a mountain on her stairs was honoured.

Margaret Payne received a British Empire Medal for services to the community in Lochinver, Sutherland, after scaling the height of the 731-metre Suilven mountain on her staircase.

She raised a total of £434,000 for the NHS, the Highland Hospice and the RNLI, saying the fundraiser was a way of saying thank you to NHS workers on the front line during the pandemic, and hospice staff who took care of her late husband Jim.

“They have been amazing, each day they are risking their lives,” she said. “My husband died at Christmas and the NHS were absolutely wonderful.”

Mrs Payne started the challenge on Easter Sunday and finished on June 23 after climbing the stairs at her home in Ardvar, Sutherland, for the 282nd time.

– Lockdown quizmaster and former rough sleeper Jay Flynn was made an MBE

A quizmaster who spent two years homeless in London was made an MBE.

Jay Flynn’s online virtual pub quiz was intended as a small event to entertain his friends and regular quizzers during the lockdown, eventually attracting interest from half a million people.

The weekly events raised a total of £750,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK, with one edition of the quiz hosted by Stephen Fry in May raising £140,000 for the charity.

Mr Flynn, 38, who lives in Darwen, Lancashire, with his wife, Sarah and three-year-old son, Jack, said: “I nearly fell backwards off my chair. I thought, ‘This can’t be real’.

“It was not something I ever thought I would achieve. I never thought I would achieve anything in my life. I don’t think it will sink in until I go to the ceremony. I’m blown away.”

– Run for Heroes 5km challenge founder Olivia Strong made an MBE

A runner whose lockdown 5k challenge raised more than £5 million for NHS charities has been made an MBE.

Olivia Strong, 27, from Edinburgh, created the Run for Heroes 5km Challenge, which inspired a million people to run five kilometres, donate £5 and nominate five friends to do the same.

Her idea, which she initially hoped would raise £5,000, went viral on Instagram, with participants from more than 20 countries taking part – including Olympian Sir Mo Farah, singer Ellie Goulding, comedian Jimmy Carr and football coach John Terry.

“There are not many words to describe it – to be honest it feels really special to be recognised for something that was such a joy to be part of, but also at the same time felt so right,” Ms Strong told the PA news agency.

“The MBE is not for me – it’s a Run for Heroes MBE. It’s for the 1.5 million people who went out and also for the team I’ve been working with – India, Alice and my family.”

– RNLI ‘fundraising phenomenon’ Audrey Wood honoured with a British Empire Medal

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A woman described as a “fundraising phenomenon” for the RNLI was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Audrey Wood, from Newmachar in Aberdeenshire, was honoured with a British Empire Medal after raising more than £235,000 for lifeboat stations across the north east of Scotland following the death of her son.

Stuart “Woody” Wood was one of 16 men who died in the Flight 85N helicopter tragedy in 2009, and Aberdeen RNLI’s D-class inshore lifeboat was named “Buoy Woody – 85N” in his memory.

She said: “I’m astounded and honoured by this unexpected recognition.

“I set out to do something positive in response to the tragic loss of Stuart, and perhaps it was more successful than I dared hope.

“I hope, when Covid-19 is over, we’ll be able to resume our events to support local RNLI lifeboats.”

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