Well known Hillsborough woman Molly McCleary has been recognized in the New Year’s Honour List for her years of voluntary work in the village and beyond.
Molly has been awarded the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for services to the arts and the community.
An expert on all things Hillsborough, Mary has constantly been involved in all aspects of village life, from teaching in Hillsborough Primary School to being one of the founding members of Hillsborough Art Club.
She is also renowned for her voluntary work with the Royal British Legion and other charities, she told the Ulster Star that she was still in shock at the news of her award.
Molly said: “I was absolutely amazed when I got the letter through the post, for three days I kept saying I don’t believe it. Wondering what have I done to deserve this?
“I was with my family over the Christmas period, the young people all fell off their chairs when they heard granny was getting a Queen’s award.
“I am still surprised, I have received this award for voluntary work, which is something that I have always enjoyed doing. I never thought I would get an award for it.
“I have been involved in a number of charity things over the years including Save The Children. I was a member of the Women’s Institute for over 60 years holding a number of roles.”
This is not the first piece of Royal Correspondence that Molly has received, seventy years ago she was one of a group of people who proudly received a card of thanks from King George VI.
Molly’s mother had been part of the Womens’ Voluntary Service collecting for the war effort, she said: “I was about eight or nine years old at the time and at the end of the war I was delighted to receive a letter from George the Sixth, everyone in the area received it but I was very proud.”
Molly is set for a reception at Hillsborough Castle in the Spring and then a garden party at Buckingham Palace later this year.
“It is nice that it will be held in Hillsborough Castle as I have known the castle all these years.
“I am very proud of the voluntary work, I am proud that I am 1 of 100 people that have been honoured. I was really surprised and I am still shocked.”