MAGGIE Haynes has been called many things in a career spanning 21 years in the army.
But being named a national Food and Drink Hero took her completely by surprise.
The mum-of-two has been recognised for her work at Tuppenny Barn, a thriving smallholding near Emsworth which helps to teach people of all ages about the benefits of organic food.
Maggie spent every penny she had to buy the field off Main Road after leaving the British Army Intelligence Corps.
Her accolade was announced at a ceremony on London’s South Bank where the PEA (People, Environment and Achievement) Awards recognised inspirational people who are making a difference to the green agenda.
Maggie took the top spot for her efforts to increase public awareness of the range and quality of organic food and drink.
Maggie, who lives in Hambrook, near Emsworth, said: ‘It has been a succession of highs and lows since I started Tuppenny Barn Organics at Southbourne in 2005 but I have always believed that if you remain dedicated to your beliefs, you will succeed.
‘The PEA award is significant because it recognises the importance of what we are doing in a sector that is vital to everyone’s health and wellbeing.
‘The timing is significant because we have entered a new year which will feature the opening of our eco-build education centre which will become a focal point for educational and community activities in the years to come.’
The finishing touches are being made to the £300,000 eco-friendly education centre and scores of schoolchildren, including from Portsmouth and Leigh Park, have visited the smallholding.
Due to work demands, Maggie was unable to attend the awards ceremony, but cookery writer Rosemary Moon visited Tuppenny Barn to present the gong.
Maggie added: ‘This has raised our profile and gives us the confidence that we are doing things in the right way on our small but productive organic smallholding.’