South Shields mum ‘astounded’ by British Empire medal as community heroes given Royal salute

Julie Dudgeon has been awarded the BEM for her services to charitable fundraising in the North East
Julie Dudgeon has been awarded the BEM for her services to charitable fundraising in the North East
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A selfless South Tynesider who has raised thousands for charity has been awarded a British Empire Medal.

A selfless South Tynesider who has raised thousands for charity has been awarded a British Empire Medal.

I have no idea who nominated me. It was such a shock.

Julie Dudgeon, who will receive a British Empire Medal

Julie Dudgeon was left astounded when she found out she was receiving the accolade as part of the Queen’s birthday honours for her services to charitable fundraising in the North East.

The 50-year-old from Imeary Street, South Shields, has raised in the region of £10,000 by taking part in a range of activities.

She said: “To be honest when I first opened the letter I thought it was a scam, and I was scanning it for a spelling mistake. But then when I realised it was real I became all emotional, in fact I still am at the thought of it, it was such a shock.

“I have no idea who nominated me, and it’s been so hard trying to keep it a secret, I am relieved I can tell people now.”

In 2003 Mrs Dudgeon, who is mum to Sarah, 26, and Nicola, 22, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Since then she’s focused her charitable efforts on raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, Breast Cancer Care, and St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow.

Mrs Dudgeon, who is a civil servant and a magistrate, used an array of initiatives to boost coffers including cake sales and selling Christmas cards.

During 2014, she climbed Ben Nevis, completed the Great North Run, cycled the Great North Bike Ride, and also climbed Grisedale Pike in the Lake District.

Mrs Dudgeon said: “After I was diagnosed with breast cancer I focused more on helping cancer charities.

“I’ve always been a keen fundraiser though, ever since I was a teenager really. It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing.”