A parish councillor who has served her community for 30 years has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year honours list .

Sarah McNamara, of The Street, Terling, not only serves as parish councillor for Terling and Fairstead, but is also a governor for Terling Primary School and a churchwarden for All Saints’ Church.

Mrs McNamara, 69, has lived in the village all her life and credited fellow villagers and councillors for helping them achieve the Essex Village of the Year Award for Terling.

She said: “I feel a bit embarrassed about it.

“Although I am very honoured there are lots of other people who are working equally as hard.

“I don’t do anything I don’t like and I get an enormous amount of back-up from other councillors who are so sup- portive – the job is very easy.

“It’s the same with the school and church, it’s lovely because the village all pulls together and people will volun- teer, it’s very nice.

“My father’s family have been her since the 1600s and my mum came when she was three months old.”

Mrs McNamara’s even went to the village’s primary school and her parents – Peter and Betty Bright – were always involved in the village.

After teaching in Germany for six years where she met her late husband, Fred, Mrs McNamara moved back and taught reception at St Cedd’s in Chelmsford up until ten tears ago.

She said: “We did things in the vil- lage because in those days that’s where your entertainment was, we didn’t go out to Chelmsford or anything.

“I’ve been a school governor at Terling Primary for many years now, until recently I was chair of governors there.

“I was a teacher so that helps me keep in touch with the younger people, it’s nice to keep involved with them.

“I also run an afterschool club with the church, called The Explorers, where we do crafts and stories.

“It’s aimed at seven and eight-year- olds but anyone can join in.

A number of other Essex community stalwarts have also been honoured.

In mid Essex Leslie David Dennison, 71, will also receive a British Empire Medal after helping to set up and then become chairman of the Pride of Essex awards among other things.

President of a youth drama group in mid Essex, Ray Banks, is another to receive the medal.

Like Mrs McNamara they are delighted and humbled.

She said: “I think it started because my fellow parish councillors nominated me for an award with the Essex Association of Local Councils.

“I was awarded that, which was lovely and very nice.

“I have lived in the village all my life and I’ve always been involved in things.

“We are so lucky in that the people who move into the village get involved, which is lovely.

“There is something like 40 clubs and organisations in the village, it’s a lovely supportive and community place.”

The British Empire medal is granted in recognition of meritorious civil or military service. The honour is divided into civil and military medals in a similar way to the Order of the British Empire itself.