Royal approval for Doris’s fundraising

Devons Lord Lieutenant, Eric Dancer CBE JP, and Doris Russell BEM

Devons Lord Lieutenant, Eric Dancer CBE JP, and Doris Russell BEM - Credit: Archant

A Colaton Raleigh woman’s ‘meritorious service’ to the community has earned her recognition from royalty.

Doris Russell was one of just eight Devon residents to be named in the New Year’s Honours list to receive the British Empire Medal.

The Bicton-born farmer’s daughter was presented with her award last Friday by the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, Eric Dancer, the Queen’s representative in the county.

He said: “These people are true community champions, and have been carrying out so much exceptional work to help others by fundraising, volunteering, helping the more vulnerable and bringing people together.

“It is a real honour to present them with their British Empire Medals. They fully deserve the recognition the award brings.

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He added: “They have changed their communities for the better, and I hope that the dedication and hard work they have provided to their communities will be an inspiration to all.”

Doris was instrumental in raising £31,000 to renovate the bell tower of the Church of St Luke’s in Colaton Raleigh, and helped raise a further £20,000 to tidy up the churchyard.

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The money was predominantly raised through her famous ‘sheep shed shuppers’, which saw 70 people at a time regularly pay to enjoy meals in the wooden sheds behind the home she shares with John, her husband of 53 years.

Doris, 75, also directs the Colaton Raleigh Players, producing pantomimes and numerous charity concerts to raise money for local charities.

She was nominated by her neighbour, Tim Pink, and found out she had been chosen on November 24 – which meant she had to keep quiet over Christmas.

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