Charity founder humbled after MBE honour

NEW YEAR HONOUR: Anesta Newson, centre, has been made an MBE for her work at the Bridge Project in Sudbury.
NEW YEAR HONOUR: Anesta Newson, centre, has been made an MBE for her work at the Bridge Project in Sudbury.
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THE founder of a charity which supports adults with learning difficulties has spoken of her disbelief after being recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.

Anesta Newson, the chief executive of the Bridge Project in Sudbury has been made an MBE.

Mrs Newson, who lives in the town, said she felt “humbled” to be honoured for services to adults with intellectual disabilities.

“It feels quite unreal and it is a bit of a shock,” said the 66-year-old, who set up the charity in 1995.

“Everybody at the project is absolutely thrilled and it is nice to think someone thinks you are doing ok.”

Originally based in Ballingdon Street, the project moved to its current home of Bradbury Courtyard in Gainsborough Street in 1999, and has been adapting to meet the requirements of those it serves ever since.

It provides vocational training, education and employment opportunities for disadvantaged adults and also runs a lunch club and cafe, growing its own produce on an allotment.

“The whole thing has just snowballed from the very beginning,” said Mrs Newson.

“We see a need and try to respond to that. It is all about the different integration of people we have here and there is a nice mix of young and old.”

Mrs Newson said she had the support of the people of Sudbury to thank for the project’s success and was looking forward to her visit to Buckingham Palace.

“It is a great way to start the new year,” she said. “Although I knew a few weeks ago, I was sworn to secrecy.

“I am very excited and will be going to the palace at some point within the next six months.”