Anna May ‘surprised’ by BEM nomination

Anna May Wharry. INLT 25-806-CON
Anna May Wharry. INLT 25-806-CON

A Carnlough senior citizen who helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity has been nominated for a British Empire Medal (BEM).

Anna May Wharry said it was “a lovely surprise” to learn someone had nominated her for an award for services to the community.

“It is so nice to think that someone thought I would be worthy of this. It was a very big surprise indeed,” said Anna May.

The 85-year-old is renowned in the area for her beautiful craft work, much of which she now creates to help raise funds for worthy causes.

She learned her skills from a young age as they were passed down the generations through family members.

“I never had any expert tuition but I think sometimes that is a better way to teach others. As an amateur you know all the things that can go wrong,” she said.

Anna May’s craft skills really came to the fore through the annual Vintage Day in Carnlough, which she was involved in from the start.

“I was asked if I would bring my spinning wheel along and people started to take an interest.

“We then ran some craft classes and the WI also got involved. It really has been a combined effort over the years,” said Anna May.

She said that while it was lovely to be nominated for the award, there were others who also worked hard for charity.

“In particular, Moira McAllister and I would do charity events together and she is just brilliant. We try to make things that we know people would like to buy,” she said.

Anna May estimated that down the years the sale of craft items has raised around £40,000 for good causes.

She has always supported the work of the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) and money from Anna May’s fundraising is now benefitting less fortunate people across the globe as well as charities closer to home.

“It’s nice to know that perhaps others now have new skills and hobbies through any of the craft classes I’ve been involved in and that money raised is making a difference across the world through all kinds of projects,” she said.