31 December 2010
Long-serving Red Cross volunteer Barbara Alexander was due to be awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list, but she passed away the day before the list was made public. The palace will present the award to her sons.
Barbara knew she was going to receive the honour, as the palace had sent her a letter in November which, coincidentally, arrived on her 81st birthday.
Her son, Martin Alexander, told BBC Lancashire: “She was absolutely thrilled. The fact that she received the letter on her birthday delighted her almost as much as the actual award.”
Decades of distinguished service
Barbara began volunteering with the Red Cross in 1963. When she moved to Lancashire five years later, there was no local Branch so she helped start one in her own home. For decades afterward, she was a devoted representative of the charity in Lancashire.
Over the years, Barbara held many roles in the organisation: first aid and home nursing trainer, centre organiser, shop manager, deputy president of Lancashire Branch and Volunteer Council member. As an emergency response volunteer, she also helped the cockle pickers who survived a high tide that killed many of their colleagues in Morecambe Bay in 2004.
In 2009, the Red Cross presented her with the rare and prestigious Badge of Honour Award for Distinguished Service.
Maryanne Burton, UK volunteering manager, said: “Barbara was the most wonderful volunteer. She started first aid groups and a retail shop in Morecambe with three fellow volunteers and spent hours and hours of her time teaching first aid. She attended local and national events in the fields, fells, village halls, and local athletics and gymkhana meetings. We sincerely thank Barbara for all she did.”
Volunteer for us