Fundraiser Michelle dedicates her medal to family , friends and the community (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Fundraiser Michelle dedicates her medal to family , friends and the community
FRIENDS and family of a cancer survivor and charity fundraiser watched with pride as she received the British Empire Medal she was awarded in the New Year Honours.
Michelle Thompson, from Darlington, was presented with her medal by Sir Paul Nicholson, the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, in a ceremony on Friday (March 1).
The 44-year-old has raised an estimated £125,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support since beating thyroid cancer.
She was chosen for the honour for her charity work, which grew from donating a few pounds a month to participating in a string of overseas challenges, including walking the Inca Trail and climbing Kilimanjaro.
The ceremony, at Darlington Town Hall, was watched by Mrs Thompson’s husband, Mick, and their children Emily and Billy.
Describing her as determined and strong, Mrs Thompson’s award citation read: “Michelle has made a significant contribution to volunteering, both at a local and national level.
“As a cancer survivor, her journey has been inspiring.
“Michelle gives her time voluntarily to many voluntary and community organisations.
“Her dedication to her charity and to the community makes her a very worthy recipient of this award.”
This summer marks the tenth anniversary of Mrs Thompson’s diagnosis and last month (February) she returned from a 450-mile cycling challenge in Africa.
She said: “Even though it was a formal ceremony, it was so lovely because all the people in the room were those who had supported me so much through the years.
“It felt like the medal was not just for me, but for all of us.
“To have that citation read out in front of me, all I was thinking to myself was ‘just don’t cry’.”
A string of dignitaries were present, including Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, Darlington Borough Council chief executive Ada Burns and leader Bill Dixon.
Giving a speech as part of the ceremony, Darlington mayor Paul Baldwin added: “It is a real honour to be here with Michelle as she receives her British Empire Medal.
“She is truly inspiring and hearing about her work warms my heart and makes me more proud than ever to be part of the community in Darlington.”