Hunts Post farming correspondent Anne Marie Hamilton has been made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Hunts Post Farming Column by Anne-Marie Hamilton, of Wood Farm, Hail WestonHunts Post Farming Column by Anne-Marie Hamilton, of Wood Farm, Hail Weston

The 68-year-old, of Wood Farm, in Hail Weston, has been recognised for her services to the farming community and charity.

She said she was “absolutely shocked and stunned” when she heard the news.

“It really was a big surprise,” she said.

Mrs Hamilton, who writes a regular column in the newspaper, set up and developed the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Rural Support Group in response to the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak. In 2007, she became chairman of Dreamdrops, a charity which supports children and their families at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Talking about her work with Dreamdrops, she said: “It has been wonderful to work with children and their families who have so much to deal with. I am chairman, but I work with an amazing committee of people and I couldn’t do it without them.”

Mrs Hamilton’s work with the rural support group involves working with farmers and those in the rural community to offer training schemes and support and help those experiencing difficult times.

She said: “At the end of the 1990s, rural communities struggled as the result of a bad recession and we were able to offer everything from debt advice to training schemes to allow them to diversify as well as things such as farm safety courses. We don’t have all the answers, but we can find someone who does.”

She is a keen supporter of the National Farmer’s Union and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. She recently became a mentor of the Resilience Group of the Prince’s Trust and offers help and advice to local farmers and farming business groups.

She is also chairman of an Agricultural Training Group for Cambridgeshire.

Mrs Hamilton has initiated management courses and created a successful arable agronomy group, which gives independent advice at a time when the advice available was linked to product promotion by agrochemical manufacturers. The Bishop of Ely recently presented her with an Etheldreda Medal; an award honouring Christian lay people who serve those around them and reach out to the community.

Mrs Hamilton said she wanted to give special thanks to her husband, Rob, without whom she said all of her work with charity and rural support groups would not have been possible.