A woman who fell in love with her community 44 years ago has been overwhelmed by the number of cards and messages she has received since breaking the news about her royal recognition.
Joyce Lucas was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours on Saturday for her services to the community of Oakham.
Joyce, who lives in Lonsdale Way, Oakham, has been at the heart of a host of groups and charities since moving to the town in 1970.
She has also served twice as Oakham mayor and has been making decisions as a town councillor for 16 years.
Joyce said: “It was very hard work keeping it quiet because I had known about the award for six weeks.
“I really am absolutely delighted and feel very honoured. I’ve had so many cards through the door and messages to say congratulations since Saturday. I can’t stop crying.”
Joyce was born in Cheshire, where her grandfather was borough mayor and father was a town councillor. Her family were all archers, and shortly after moving to Rutland she formed the Bowmen of Rutland with husband Robert.
She also founded Oakham In Bloom, Walking for Health, and has been a trustee of the Karen Ball Fund for 28 years, a group which provides medical equipment and care for seriously ill people.
Joyce said: “I just feel so passionately about the community and that’s what keeps me going. It’s just a way of life for me. I couldn’t live anywhere else.”
Joyce also paid tribute to her husband Robert for all his hard work and support.
She added: “I really couldn’t do what I do without him. This is recognition for both of us.”