She has run exercise classes for four decades and raised more than £115,000 for charity – and now Jean Hughes is to be honoured by the Queen.
Jean has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her dedication to the community and for her work raising money for charities.
She will be presented with the medal by Lord-Lieutenant Paul Chandrasekharan Sabapathy CBE at a eremony at Wordsley Community Centre on Thursday, October 31, in front of friends and family.
But she is not the first person in her family to receive a national accolade. She will join her daughter, Su Handford aged 53, who received a Queen’s Police Medal in 2010, and her son-in-law Paul Handford, 55, who received an MBE in 2006.
Both received the commendations for their long service with West Midlands Police, which between them totalled more than 60 years in the force.
Su said: “She has always said it’s for the group and not just for herself but without her there wouldn’t be a group.
“I was so proud when I heard I was going to receive my award from the Queen and I’m just as proud of my mum – it has been a long time coming.”
The 78-year-old has run her keep fit class at the centre in Wordsley Green for 41 years and currently has more than 100 women attending three classes each week. Mrs Hughes, who lives with husband Ray in Kingswinford, said: “I’m very excited to be receiving the medal next week. When I first started out I never thought I would be involved in it for so long.
“We all really enjoy doing the things for charity and love going to see the difference it makes to other people’s lives.”
To date she has raised more than £115,000 for charity and has provided everything from bikes for war-wounded soldiers through to equipment for cancer patients.
The group has raised money for around 40 charities by holding raffles and sponsored keep fit events. Next year she will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace.