Queen honours Long Melford volunteer
HONOURED: Veronica Stuart was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Veronica Stuart has been volunteering at Melford Hall in Long Melford for the past 11 years, the last nine years spent as the events coordinator.
The 71-year-old had kept the BEM secret since May, finally revealing her surprise title when the lists were officially announced on Saturday.
She was in the dark herself for the first few days, on holiday when the letter first arrived.
“I was absolutely amazed, I just had a letter from the Cabinet Office, I had no idea what it was about,” she said.
“I was dumbstruck, it’s an amazing honour for Melford Hall, for myself and my team.”
The retired film and TV producer is just one of 150 volunteers at the hall, leading 49 in the events team.
“There are a lot of hours that people give for free,” she said.
The mother of two and grandmother of five said she first joined the volunteers at the hall run by the National Trust after seeing an advert in the local press.
After moving to the village the year before she thought it would be a good excuse to get out of the house.
The hall sees a number of events throughout the year, currently housing an art exhibition, but Mrs Stuart said most of these were focused on children including the hall’s popular Beatrix Potter days.