Anglesey fundraiser and Girlguiding volunteer receives BEM award in New Year honours

AN ANGLESEY woman has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2022 New Year honours list, recognising her many years of voluntary and public service in the area.

Maureen Davies, 80, has primarily carried out voluntary work with Girlguiding, the UK’s largest girl-only youth organisation, which she has served since starting as a Brownie Guide leader in 1975.

She has been involved with charity work since she childhood, and has been a fundraiser and volunteer event organiser for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the Children’s League of Pity, the Royal British Legion, and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Maureen has also held a number of different Girlguiding roles, including deputy chief commissioner for Wales and Holyhead district commissioner, and has been Girlguiding Anglesey President since 2016.

Maureen, who moved to Anglesey in 1962, said it was “absolutely amazing” when she found out she had been awarded a BEM about two weeks ago.

She said: “I was very surprised and thrilled to bits to be awarded it, but it came as a complete shock to get the letter in the post. I feel very proud.”

Maureen first became involved in Girlguiding after her daughter joined a Brownie group in Trearddur Bay in October 1975, only to find that just one woman was in charge of looking after roughly 30 girls.

The following week, Maureen leant a helping hand, and one thing has led to another since then.

She said: “It (Girlguiding) is a wonderful organisation because it treats everybody the same; it doesn’t matter where you come from.

“It helps girls to develop their own skills and learn more about themselves, and try things out which, maybe, they would never normally have a go at.

“I’m still doing stuff now; with the knowledge I’ve gained over the years, there are people who ring me up to say: ‘Can you help me with this?’ or ‘Do you know anything about that?’.

“I have people in Holyhead and Trearddur Bay who will suddenly come up to me and go: ‘I haven’t seen you for years, Brown Owl; I used to be in your Brownie pack!’ and now it’s their granddaughters that are in Rainbows or Brownies.

“It’s wonderful, because the comments are always what fun they had, what they learnt, how it helped them develop as they got older, how it gave them confidence, getting over shyness, trying out skills.

“I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in the organisation.”

Maureen also owns a shop, ‘Images’, in the centre of Holyhead, which she rents out at cost to small charities in the area for fundraising.

Each charity raises between £300-£2,000 per week and pays approximately £12 per day, a scheme Maureen has been running for more than a decade now.

She added: “I thought it would be a very good place for local charities; the ones that can’t afford to rent a big shop somewhere.

“I said I would rent it out on a weekly basis, but nobody could have it for more than four weeks in a year or for more than a fortnight in one go, apart from the British Legion, who have had it for three weeks every year for the Poppy Appeal.

“I’ve just charged a small amount, and of course, fresh stuff goes in there nearly every week, which makes it very popular, because people know they can go there on a Monday or Tuesday and there will be completely new stuff.

“It’s still running; we finished just before Christmas, and I think the next person to go in there will be somewhere around the end of January.

“It’s been very difficult to run the shop (during the COVID-19 pandemic), but I’ve got about four weeks booked up for now and I know once we get into January, that’s when people will start ringing up.”

Elsewhere, a woman from Morfa Nefyn was also awarded a BEM for her services to the community in Pwllheli.

Joan Scott (known as Jo), aged 55, is an ASDA Community Champion, having spent the pandemic as a COVID safety marshal, greeting customers at the door, handed out PPE and ensuring customers remained safe while shopping.

She even started to entertain customers who were queuing to get into stores by dancing and singing, and also supported the green token scheme at ASDA which raised a total of £3,600.

And in 2019, she raised more than £1,200 for ASDA’S national charity campaign ‘Tickled Pink’, partnered with ‘Breast Cancer Now’ and ‘Coppafeel!’, as well as £1,010.56 for Children in Need, charities that are particularly close to her heart.

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey