Royal honours for East Antrim women

Santa made an appearance at the Drop In Charity Shop on Saturday to wish every one a Merry Christmas. Pictured with Staff Members Sandra Curran, Pat Butler and Joan Guiller   INCT 50-404-RM
Santa made an appearance at the Drop In Charity Shop on Saturday to wish every one a Merry Christmas. Pictured with Staff Members Sandra Curran, Pat Butler and Joan Guiller INCT 50-404-RM

Two East Antrim women have been awarded a BEM in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for their work in the community.

Ann Tinsley, from Carnlough, is secretary of Larne Musical Festival Association, founder of the “Glenarm Together” forum group and secretary of Glenarm Village Committee.

Carnlough woman Ann Tinsley was awarded a BEM in the New Year Honours List. INLT 01-650-CON

Carnlough woman Ann Tinsley was awarded a BEM in the New Year Honours List. INLT 01-650-CON

She has been involved with community work for 35 years.

She has worked as a Community Projects Officer for the then North Down Borough Council and was Development Officer for Northern Ireland for the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship.

Glenarm Together is a community forum which brought together all the groups in the village under the umbrella of the village committee.

She also introduced a quarterly magazine “Glenarm News” to inform the village and surrounding areas of news, views, and articles of local interest.

Throughout all this work, Ann said that she was given “full and excellent support of the village committee”. Regarding her BEM award, she commented: “I was flabbergasted to receive this honour and regard it as an acknowledgment of the dedication, and focus of all members, past and present of Glenarm Village Committee.”

Ann was also awarded for her services to music.

She said that she has been “involved with music all her life”.

From joining the junior choir in Lisburn Cathedral at the age of nine, she progressed to the adult choir and sang there until she left Lisburn.

She was a member of Lisnagarvey and the New Lyric operatic companies until she moved to Straidkilly in 1997 when she joined the parish church choir in Glenarm and still sings there.

She was invited to be a member of Larne Concert Choir after its formation in 1998 and to become involved in the formation of the regenerated Larne Musical Festival. She has held the post of festival secretary since 2001.

She was delighted when Lady Aurora, Viscountess Dunluce, responded to her invitation to be patron.

Her medal will be presented by the Queen’s representative for County Antrim Lord Lieutenant Joan Christie before an official investiture at Buckingham Palace.

Meanwhile former Larne woman, Joan Guiller, manager of Drop Inn Ministries, in Carrick, says she is “absolutely over the moon” to receive a BEM.

She said that she was nominated by friends Elizabeth Morrison and Mervyn Hamilton.

Joan has been manager of the shop for the past 13 years. Previously, she worked for the St Vincent de Paul charity as manager of its holiday home.

She recalled that she was “very shocked” to receive news of her nomination.

She explained that initially she had been asked to help out at the Cheston Way branch of the Drop Inn Ministries shop. There are now three branches in the town.

“It really is wonderful the number of people we can help. The charity has been able to help a lot of people by furnishing their homes. We also have a library and take part in hospital visits,” she continued.

“When I got the letter, I asked what have I done? In all honesty, if someone needs help, I just give it. I have never expected anything in return.”

Joan received her BEM for services to humanitarian aid and the community in Carrickfergus,