A BARRY grandmother-of-three has been awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) in the New Year Honours list.

Sixty-seven-year-old Gay Fifield has been recognised for her services to older people in South Wales.

Mrs Fifield, a retired nurse who worked at Barry and Sully hospitals with a stint as a nursing home worker, previously helped Barry Hospital League of Friends raise more than £70,000 during her voluntary service as the group’s secretary.

After leaving ‘The Friends’ in 2003, for health reasons, Mrs Fifield, of Ogmore Place, Gibbonsdown, decided after a few years that she wanted to do something with her time.

She said: “I went into the volunteer bureau but nobody made any attempt to chat to me. I saw the Age Concern shop was open and I knew one of the ladies.”

Barry Good Neighbours scheme, co-ordinator Sula Rees trained her in one day.

Mrs Fifield now volunteers and uses her expertise and training as a senior health mentor.

Her role as a phone link volunteer, since 2007, involves her calling people each week to establish whether they need anything.

She shares new knowledge with the Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale senior health shop, in Holton Road, and has worked in the shop for four days a week since 2009.

More than 1000 people attend the shop each month.

She manages the advertising and several monthly newsletters, and fundraises for the charity.

From 2012 she has helped the Age CC Aging Well Project and organises all the Health Topic Days.

She established The Friends and Neighbours Group (FAN), in Barry, in 2005.

More than 65 people, aged 55 to 96, attend to welcome guest speakers and get involved with trips, concerts, and raffles.

Mrs Fifield said: “We had six to start with and it’s now 66 with a waiting list of 20.”

Mrs Fifield was the recipient of the Barry Town Mayor’s Award 2016 for her “outstanding contribution to the people and town of Barry.”

On receiving notification of her BEM, she said: “A yellow envelope came with Cabinet on it. When I opened it I thought ‘Oh my God.’ I was excited, quite chuffed, as it’s not just for myself, but for the two projects – Age Connects and FAN.”

Mrs Fifield will be presented with her award some time in 2018.