A church missionary who fights for the rights for asylum seekers and refugees in South Tyneside has received her MBE.
Anne Seymour, who herself spent time as a refugee in Nigeria in 1962 after being becoming caught up in the civil war while delivering medical aid, has devoted almost 50 years to the cause.
Today, she was presented with her medal by the Lord Lieutenant Susan Winfield in front of family and friends after being named a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s Honours List.
The 80-year-old, from The Lonnen, South Shields, was recognised for services to asylum seekers and refugees in South Tyneside.
The retired surgeon said: “It is an honour but there are much more deserving people than me.
“People have gone through so much fuss for me. It does make you proud when a family of refugees come to South Tyneside and you can help them get on their feet.
It is rewarding when you see them becoming pillars of the communityAnne Seymour
“It is awarding when you see them becoming pillars of the community.”
A special celebration event took place at Living Waters Church in Laygate to mark the occasion.
Lord Lieutenant Mrs Winfield said: “As you will probably know medals are awarded for outstanding achievements within the community and Miss Seymour’s activities over 50 years or more have been outstanding. What she has organised and she has set out to do and what she has achieved in welcoming people who are disadvantaged in our society.”
The event was attended by the outgoing Mayor and Mayoress Coun Richard Porthouse and his wife Patricia.
Coun Porthouse said: “Anne Seymour is such a formidable character who is well-known for her work throughout the borough.
“She has done and continues to do great work with the refugees within South Tyneside. She is just a beacon of light within the community.”
Miss Seymour founded STARCH (South Tyneside Asylum Seeker and Refugee Church Help), a support service and drop-in centre back in 1999.
Since then, she has worked tirelessly to help children and their families who have been given the right to remain in the UK, running drop-in centres and support groups in churches throughout the borough.