MARGARET Perryman does so much for the village of Needingworth that her family jokes she should have a sign on the front door which reads: “Perryman Information Centre.”

Since moving into the area in 1972, Mrs Perryman has become one of the main people residents turn to for help and advice because of her widespread involvement in village life over 40 years.

The 72-year-old, of St John's Close, first got to know people as a welfare officer for the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA).

“My husband was in RAF so I wanted to do something to help people who had left the service,” she said.

“A lot of the time people just want a visit or need someone to speak to but it is also about helping people to help themselves.”

When she moved to Needingworth with her husband Tony, 73, their children Keith and Julie were involved in the scout movements, prompting Mrs Perryman to also get involved in the running of the organisation.

“I enjoy seeing the youngsters enjoy themselves,” she said, although she isn't too pleased at the growth of a health and safety culture which restricts many youngsters' activities.

“I think children should be allowed to be children,” she said.

And Mrs Perryman is also the verger at St John the Baptist Church, Holywell, saying that her faith is a huge part of her life.

She summarises herself as a “do-er” who likes to organise things but, modestly, she lets others take the limelight.

“I am a bit of an organiser but I wouldn't want to be the top person in charge,” she said. “I don't want the limelight.”

Her first reaction on learning she had been nominated for a British Empire Medal was “total surprise” but she said it was great to be recognised for her work and be thought of by others as being worthy of the award.