Regional charity champion "chuffed" at award of British Empire Medal

The Northern Echo: Jim Cleghorn Jim Cleghorn

A NORTH-EAST charity champion was “chuffed to bits” to learn of his award of a BEM in the New Year’s honours.

For decades Jim Cleghorn has helped worthy causes in the North-East through his voluntary work for the Variety Club of Great Britain in the region, the Lions Club and the Apostle Ship of the Sea charity helping foreign seafarers visiting ports in the North-East.

The retired businessman, who worked in the petrochemical industry in the Middle East for many years, has remained active despite recent ill-health, and was out as ever assisting the Sunderland Lions’ efforts at the recent Boxing Day dip at Seaburn with his wife Lilian.

As part of the Variety Club movement Mr Cleghorn, of East Boldon, near Sunderland, has helped to raise funds to provide specially adapted minibuses for the disabled for more than 40 schools and community organisations round the region, covering an area from Berwick to Northallerton.

But he was taken aback when the letter arrived informing him of his BEM for 'services to the community'.

“It was about six weeks ago that it dropped and I was chuffed to bits.

"I can only think it's for helping the various causes I've been involved with.

“It’s a testimony really to the many people working in all those organisations over the years," added Mr Cleghorn, who becomes an octogenarian in February.

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