A pillar of East Worldham life has been rewarded for her services to the village with a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours List.

Mary Trigwell-Jones, 79, was a founder member of staff at Alton College after previously working at Mill Chase School in Bordon.

She went abroad several times as an examiner for Cambridge International Exams, and in 1974 she wrote the textbook for the Cambridge O-level commerce course.

Worldham Parish Council chair Robin Twining said: “Congratulations to Mary. Her long, varied and invaluable voluntary service to the community has seen her take on a number of roles, including 36 years as a parish councillor. She was the first woman to be voted in as a parish councillor for Worldham parish.

“She has been involved with the East Worldham School Educational Trust, a member of the parochial church council, and has been instrumental in the production, content and distribution of the local magazine The King’s World.

“She has for many years opened her gardens to the public under the National Garden Scheme, raising money for charities including Marie Curie nursing and the Tafara Mission in Harare.

“Over the years Mary has been involved with every aspect of life in the community and continues to serve our community with dedication, selflessness and commitment. The award is well deserved.”

Mary said: “I ran a bookstall in the garden and we gave the proceeds to Tafara, which my husband and I have visited.

“I will get the medal from the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire in Winchester on March 18 and have invited my nephew and niece-in-law in Alton to accompany me.”

Mary will also be invited to a Buckingham Palace garden party – and having been before she had some good advice.

She said: “You must wear comfortable shoes with low heels to cope with the gravel. We arrived early last time and I put my old ones on, and kept them on. I was so glad – I didn’t care what I looked like!”