Red Cross helper dies day before MBE appointment

Barbara Alexander
Image caption Barbara Alexander encouraged young people to join the Red Cross

A retired teacher who helped establish the Red Cross in Lancashire has died a day before she was due to be appointed MBE.

Barbara Alexander, 81, lost her battle against bowel cancer at a care home in Carnforth on Thursday morning.

Described by the international charity as a "most wonderful volunteer", she knew she had been named in the New Year Honours list before she died.

Her son Martin Alexander said: "She was absolutely thrilled."

The volunteer and teacher of more than 20 years received notification of her MBE on 18 November - her 81st birthday.

Mr Alexander said: "The fact that she received the letter on her birthday delighted her almost as much as the actual award.

"Mum did a great deal for the Red Cross - she moved the charity forward and got the younger generation interested in volunteering.

'Poignant moment'

"When she arrived in Lancaster in 1963, there was no Red Cross in the district. Within a few months, with the help of a friend Carol Powell they had a formed a branch.

"It went from strength to strength, they fund-raised, trained young people, taught life-saving techniques, set up a shop, and carried out much more for the community.

"They also did it with the help of a great many volunteers, air cadets and younger members."

Mrs Alexander, from Bolton-le-Sands, was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in June.

Her son added: "Unfortunately it was extremely advanced, she very bravely refused any chemotherapy, having seen the effects on our father.

"It's a great honour and a very poignant moment for her to be named in the New Year Honour list a day after she died."

A Red Cross spokesman said: "Barbara has been the most wonderful volunteer, she spent hours and hours of her time teaching first aid, attending local and national events, in the fields, fells, village halls, as well as local athletics and gymkhana meetings."

Image caption David Brindle was appointed MBE for services to the police

Burnley FC legend James McIlroy has been appointed MBE for his dedication to football and charity.

Mr McIlory, who has a stand named after him at Turf Moor, was given the freedom of Burnley in 2008.

Lancashire Constabulary's director of resources was also appointed MBE in the list.

David Brindle, 62, from Preston, was honoured for services to the police.

He said: "As you can imagine I'm extremely pleased and feel very privileged. My overriding emotion is one of pride.

"I've been lucky enough to work for a fantastic organisation with some top quality people in it. I see this award as a testament to their efforts as much as my own."

Others from Lancashire being honoured include Donna Hall, chief executive of Chorley Borough Council, appointed CBE for services to local government in Lancashire; Charubala Ainscough, founder and chair of Sahara Project, appointed OBE for her services to black and minority ethnic people in Lancashire.

Blackpool lollipop lady Bridie Matley, 67, was made an MBE, as were Lancashire's senior archivist Anna Watson and boxing coach Yaqoob Hussain, for his work with young people at the Blackburn with Darwen Boxing Academy.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites