A WOMAN who has dedicated her working life to protecting communities and safeguarding the environment has been recognised with an MBE in the New Year Honours’ list.

Sally Gallagher is a technical specialist in the Environment Agency’s Newcastle-based Groundwater, Hydrology and Contaminated Land team.

Her work involves protecting communities and groundwater, often contaminated water found underground in old mine workings.

She has worked for the agency and its predecessor for 30 years, starting at the age of 25.

Having begun her career at Norfolk County Council, she moved to the region to work for Northumberland County Council, where she was involved with the early methane collection schemes, groundwater monitoring programme and mitigating water pollution.

“I love what I do. It is difficult, but the outcomes are great, and I have seen so many of these over the past 30 years.

“Raising awareness has been a key part of my drive, I feel inspired and excited when I see others realise just how integral groundwater is to our community and our everyday lives.

“I’m motivated by their enthusiasm when they start to see how we can all work together to make the North-East a better place and that many of the solutions and approaches are transferable to issues in other areas.

“I am humbled and deeply honoured to be nominated let alone to receive such an honour. It shows that even your average person can be recognised for doing a job they have loved passionately throughout their career,” added Ms Gallagher, from North Tyneside.