Community hero is royally honoured

Barry And District News: COMMUNITY HONOUR: Campaigner Molly Conway gets her award notification (3201449) COMMUNITY HONOUR: Campaigner Molly Conway gets her award notification (3201449)

COMMUNITY campaigner Molly Conway, who has spent more than 28 years championing a Barry housing estate, has been honoured by the Queen.

The 70-year-old mum-of-two and grandmother-of-four was awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours for her service to the community of Gibbonsdown – where she lives.

The former Gladstone and Holton Road school pupil has been chairwoman of the Gibbonsdown Residents’ board since 1985 and has been instrumental in helping to improve both economic and social conditions in the Communities First area.

Molly said she was “shocked rigid” when she read the letter informing her of her nomination in November and that it had been difficult for a “chatterbox” like her to keep the secret.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it. I was just shocked ridged.

" picked it up and put it down and picked it up and in the end I thought It’s got to be as it’s all official. I then made a cup of tea as it’s the best cure for everything.”

Molly, together with the residents’ board, helped bring about the basketball and skate park at Pencoedtre Park and the Treetops wooden park for use by local children.

One of the first litter picks she organised saw more than 80 tonnes over the normal refuse amount collected.

The retired youth worker also successfully campaigned to keep the housing stock in Vale Council control rather than it go to a private social housing landlord and has never been afraid to take authority on.

She said: “I enjoy a good fight for other people to make sure these people get justice done and they are not just phoo-phooed or just a number .

“I enjoy doing it, but this shouldn’t be happening today. There seems to be a lack of consultation on what the residents and community need. People are desperate here and they need assistance.

“I want to share the award with the people of Gibbonsdown because without them I would have nothing to do.”

Tim Reynolds, who worked with Molly for eight years, while he was carrying out the Salvation Army’s work in Gibbonsdown, said he was delighted she had been honoured.

“I am over the moon,” he said. “I did a Google search and hoped she would come up. I’m glad for the community of Gibbonsdown. The very first person I was told to meet was Molly and she welcomed us and became our biggest friend.”

Chief inspector of major events, Jay Dave – who with police colleagues were the many to nominate Molly – said she commanded the ability to be both respected by the community and police.

He said: “I think it’s wonderful that a working class hero has been recognised by the Queen.”


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