South Tyneside charity worker awarded British Empire Medal

A charity champion from South Tyneside has been presented with the British Empire Medal she earned for her work.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 9:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 1:11 pm
Thelma Small, left, receives her British Empire Medal from the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear Susan Winfield.

Joan Small received the award in recognition of her services to equality in the North East where she has helped to build and promote a culture of acceptance and encouragement within the community.

Joan manages Parents Enquiry North East (PENE), an organisation which supports and helps parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children to come to terms with their child’s sexuality.

Since joining in 1995, she has encouraged a network of parents to come together and share their own experiences in order to help others.

The PENE helpline remains open today due to Joan’s sheer determination to source funding from local authorities and health services.

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Described as ‘a real champion’ and a ‘dedicated, passionate person with a strong sense of duty’. Joan is widely known within the LGBT community and by local health professionals who often signpost their clients to her well-trusted services.

The BEM was presented to Joan by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Susan M. Winfield at South Shields Town Hall.

South Tyneside Mayor, Coun Norman Dick, said: “It was an honour to able to offer my congratulations to Joan. She has proven to be a great help in supporting hundreds of families over the past years and is very deserving of this accolade.”

The honours system recognises people who have committed themselves to serving and helping others. For further information on how to nominate, go to or contact the Tyne and Wear Lieutenancy Office on 0191 433 2047.