Portsmouth woman left in tears at New Year’s honour

Marian Stapley with a medal she was presented by firefighters for services and dedication to the victims of Chernobyl''Picture: Allan Hutchings (132040-219)
Marian Stapley with a medal she was presented by firefighters for services and dedication to the victims of Chernobyl''Picture: Allan Hutchings (132040-219)
Comedian Ken Cheng with his prize for the Dave's Funniest Joke Of The Edinburgh Fringe award. Picture: UKTV Dave/Martina Salvi/PA Wire

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A WOMAN who brightens the lives of children still reeling from a nuclear disaster broke down in tears when she heard her charity work had been praised by the Queen.

Marian Stapley, who is part of the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line, was presented with a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year’s Honours.

Every year she invites children from Ukraine over to Portsmouth for a month to get away from a life of poverty left in the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

The 48-year-old, of Blakemere Crescent, Paulsgrove, said: ‘I was gobsmacked

‘At the end of the day I’m a middle-aged housewife from Paulsgrove. To get this award was amazing. I cried.’

Just days before Marian learned of her award, she had offered another helping hand to a family battling cancer.

She was on a trip to Ukraine when she heard of the plight of one children who had stayed with her years before.

The dad of the boy was fighting an aggressive form of cancer but couldn’t afford the chemotherapy.

Touched by their hardship, she gave them £350 to pay for the treatment – almost the equivalent of the family’s yearly earnings.

‘I had to help’, she added.