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Queens birthday honours Saturday, 12 June, 1999, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Service with a smile honoured
Phyllis Wells MBE maintains war graves at her local cemetery
People whose service to the community ranges from tireless church-bell ringing to tending war graves have been awarded MBEs in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Joseph Porter was recognised for his 81 years' service to the community in Bury, Lancashire as bell ringer at the local parish church.

Queens Birthday Honours
The 91-year-old still climbs a 54-step spiral staircase to ring the bells.

During World War II, when bells alerted the community to a possible invasion, he trained a team of ringers with the clappers tied to prevent false alarms.

Throughout his years of ringing, he has become an expert at performing rare peals of bells such as the Grandiere Triple.

Mr Porter has also encouraged others to take up his art through tuition. As a member of the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers he regularly travels all over Lancashire.

Wendy Thompson has used Lottery money to provide swimming lessons
Wendy Thompson, although wheelchair-bound, teaches other disabled people to swim.

She is actively involved with the Swimming Club for People with Disabilities, and Milton Keynes Sailability, in Buckinghamshire.

An additional weekly session for the swimming club was set up by Mrs Thompson with the National Lottery grant she obtained.

She is also heavily involved with the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and Milton Keynes Arthritis Care.

Grave headstones repaired

Phyllis Wells has maintained war graves in Barry, South Glamorgan, for more than 50 years at the local cemetery.

She originally visited Barry Town cemetery because her father is buried there. But when she noticed a number of unkempt war graves, she took action.

Although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has an agreement with Barry Town council for basic maintenance, that really only ensures the site is kept tidy.

Assisted by her husband, Mrs Wells, who is in her 70s, has repaired and repositioned many headstones over the years. She visits at least once a week, regularly placing flowers and plants specially grown in her own garden on the graves.

DIY cleaner

Pamela Wilkinson was awarded her MBE for services as a cleaner to Wirksworth Infant School, Matlock, Derbyshire.

As well as carrying out all her cleaning services, Mrs Wilkinson works outside her job description. She is a dab hand at carpentry, decorating, caring for the school pets, gardening and erecting fencing.

When the school was short of cash in 1998, she offered to do the school grounds at a much reduced rate.

In her capacity as senior dinner lady she knows all the children and their families. She knows what every child likes to eat and ensures they eat a good lunch.

Mrs Wells has also stood in for the school road-crossing patrol and volunteered as a first-aider for St John's Ambulance.

In her free time she is the co-ordinator for her local Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

She and her husband have a disabled son, and she runs stalls and garage sales to raise money for other projects for disabled children.

See also:

12 Jun 99 | Queens birthday honours
12 Jun 99 | Queens birthday honours
14 Jun 99 | Queens birthday honours
12 Jun 99 | Queens birthday honours
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