Tireless charity worker Heather Mealing has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year’s Honours List.
Her award is for services to people with disabilities and their carers in Leeds and East Sussex.
Ms Mealing helped to set up the charity Chailey Heritage Parent and Carer Support (CHIPS) which provides much needed help to the pupils and families of Chailey Heritage School.
It is a cause close to her heart as her daughter Issobella, 15, is disabled.
CHIPS is an invaluable resource to the community and provides much needed support to parents. True to its name, CHIPS mixes mutual support and friendships through coffee mornings, pot luck family lunches, fun seasonal sessions such as baking Christmas bauble cupcakes and running information sessions about the latest developments in Special Educational Needs.
Ms Mealing, 53, of East Grinstead Road, North Chailey, always gives generously of her time, attending events and helping to promote the charity.
Before moving to East Sussex four years ago, she lived in Leeds where she became a Trustee of Leeds Mencap at a time when the future of the organisation looked very uncertain.
Due to her leadership the charity was turned around in less than a year and she worked full-time as Manager and Treasurer for that year without pay, so that the charity could afford to hire a full-time fundraiser. Her drive was to improve the services that the charity offered to disabled people.
In 2004 she began volunteering for another Leeds charity, SNAPS, which aims to open clubs that children with learning disabilities and their families can go to for support.
Also award the BEM in the New Year’s Honours were Colin John Moore, of Uckfield, for services to music in East Sussex, and Joanna Tindall, of Mayfield, for voluntary service to The Pony Club.
Alison Helen Stanley, from Lewes, has been made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for services to the creation and leadership of civil service employee policy with a particular focus on improving and implementing workforce policies.
Made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) is Poppy Jaman, from Lewes, the Chief Executive of Mental Health First Aid England. The honour is for services to people with mental health issues.
Mrs Jaman, a mother of four, has cited her experience of depression as a young woman, growing up in a deprived ward in Portsmouth and leaving school at 16 (although she later got an MBA) helped her to develop an understanding of the challenges facing people with mental health problems, especially among diverse groups.
Made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) is casting director Phillipa ‘Pippa’ Ailion, of Pevensey Bay, for services to the theatre and diversity in The Arts.
MBE honours have also gone to violinist Anthony Marwood for services to classical music in East Sussex; to Professor Matthew Harrison, of Ninfield, Trustee of STEMNET, for services to engineering and education; and to Dr Andrew Spiers, of Hartfield, Director of Science and Technology at Ardingly College, for services to education.