A retired surgeon, who fights for asylum seekers and refugees in South Tyneside, has been handed a royal honour.
Anne Seymour has been named a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s Honours List.
The 80-year-old, of The Lonnen, South Shields, was recognised for services to asylum seekers and refugees in South Tyneside.
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.
She said: “I was very shocked at the news because I think there are a lot of people who do a lot more than I do.
“The first thing I thought was, ‘oh dear, what’s everyone going to say?’
“But then I thought that not accepting it might upset whoever has nominated me, so I said yes.”
She added: “Setting up this charity was easier in South Tyneside than it would have been in other places because South Shields was already such a multi-ethnic town.
“I’m very honoured to accept this award, but still very shocked.”