Cherie Blair made a CBE for charity work in New Year Honours

Cherie Blair Disability charity Scope said Mrs Blair was one of its most 'committed supporters'

Cherie Blair has been made a CBE in the New Year Honours for her services to women's issues and charity.

The wife of former prime minister Tony Blair has worked to raise both funds and awareness for a wide range of charities at home and overseas.

Among others, Mrs Blair, 58, is a patron of Breast Cancer Care, Refuge, Scope and the Community Foundation for Merseyside.

Her spokesman said she was "very honoured" to receive the award.

Mrs Blair, a barrister, is honorary vice-president, formerly president, of Barnardo's, and president of the Loomba Foundation, which campaigns to alleviate the plight of widows around the world.

In 2008, she founded the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, which runs programmes in many parts of the developing world, including Africa, India and the Middle East.

It aims to help women set up and expand businesses, in order to gain financial independence.

'Committed supporter'

Mrs Blair was appointed vice-chair of the International Council on Women's Business Leadership in 2011 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, advising the US government on how its foreign policy can support the economic empowerment of women.

Cherie Blair and Cilla Black with goats The Loomba Foundation has given goats to widows to help give them an income

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, of which Mrs Blair has been a patron for 10 years, said it was "fantastic" that her work had been recognised with an honour.

"Cherie's background as a human rights barrister, combined with her strong interest and understanding of our work, makes her one of our most committed supporters," he said.

"She frequently gives up her time, mobilises her contacts, and provides knowledge and expertise in a variety of ways that help our work supporting disabled people."

Breast Cancer Care said it was "delighted" to hear of the award for Mrs Blair, who has been a patron since 1997.

"Her intense level of support has had an enormous impact on us. Away from the glare of publicity it is Cherie's human touch that makes her so loved and appreciated by our supporters.

"She goes out of her way to take the time to listen to the experiences of people affected by breast cancer, and to thank and encourage staff and volunteers."

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