A WORDSLEY woman, who has dedicated her life to helping others, has been presented with the British Empire Medal in the Mayor's parlour.
Julie Duffy, aged 58, received her royal recognition for decades of outstanding service to her community, including working for more than a quarter of a century as the chief officer of young people's advice and counselling service The What? Centre in Stourbridge.
In addition to her day job Julie has consistently volunteered her time for good causes.
Julie was a leading figure in setting up Summit House in Dudley, which provides services for local people affected by and living with HIV and Aids.
She spent many years giving her time to the Robin Woods Centre – a community centre home for charities and events in Stourbridge.
Plus, Julie has been a governor of Belle Vue Primary School and Fairhaven Primary School, both in Wordsley, and of Stourbridge College. In addition, Julie is chair of the Dudley Voluntary Youth Organisations.
The Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Paul Sabapathy CBE, who is the Queen's representative in Dudley, presented Julie with her medal at a civic reception at Dudley Council. He said: "Julie is an outstanding pillar of the community, who has devoted a lifetime to supporting the local community. I am delighted to recognise her contribution on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.
"Julie's contribution is an excellent example of the council's 'love your community' campaign which encourages residents to participate and celebrate where they live.
"On behalf of everyone in Dudley can I thank and congratulate Julie for all that she has done over many years for the citizens of Dudley."
Julie said: "I still can't believe that I have been given the medal.
"I didn't know that I had been nominated until I got the letter in the post informing me that I was being honoured.
"I see this, however, as recognition for everyone at the What? Centre and everyone I have ever volunteered with.
"As a child I experienced bereavement and poverty and I had a tricky upbringing, so as an adult I wanted to help others.
"I am passionate about setting up local services to support people and I will continue to look for opportunities to assist and sustain local people."
The British Empire Medal recognises exceptional service worthy of recognition by the Crown.