Dorothy Bone has worked tirelessly over the years as honorary secretary of the Emsworth Maritime and Historical Trust, promoting the area’s heritage, and as honorary minute secretary for the Emsworth Stroke Club.
Now, the great-grandmother is being recognised for voluntary services to her community as she is named in the New Year’s Honours.
She has been awarded a British Empire Medal, or BEM.
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Dorothy, who turns 84 on January 8, said: ‘I was very surprised and honoured to get the envelope at the beginning of December.
‘I don’t know anybody else who’s had an award. I imagine somebody recommended me.
‘I imagine there are thousands who get their names put forward - I would have thought there wouldn’t be room for me with all the doctors and nurses working through Covid.’
Having lived in Emsworth for just over 40 years, and volunteering at the museum for nearly that length of time, Dorothy – has been Honorary Secretary of the Emsworth Maritime and Historical Trust since its inception in 1982 – has seen many changes at the heritage venue.
‘I think it’s a long service, shall we say,’ Dorothy said.
‘Because I’ve been with it for so long, I’ve been through its ups and downs. I’ve seen quite a few different aspects of it.’
While she is interested in local history, what Dorothy likes best is talking to people and helping organise volunteers at the museum.
She said: ‘I like finding volunteers to help man the museum when it’s open, and that can be quite a challenge in the summer.
‘I enjoy talking to people, and that’s what keeps me going there. I also help with finding exhibitions to encourage people to come in.
‘That’s been quite a challenge with Covid, obviously people are very wary. But we have managed to stay open.’
The museum is able to keep running due to donations given by the public.
‘We have to raise all our funds the best we can,’ Dorothy said.
‘People are very generous to Emsworth Museum. Our efforts are rewarded.’
Trevor Davies, museum chairman, said: ‘In 1982, the idea of an Emsworth Museum was in its infancy, supported only by a few personal collections of objects in individual garages.
‘Dorothy has determinedly supported the trust as it developed into a fully functioning, wholly volunteer museum in Emsworth located in an iconic building leased from Havant Borough Council.
‘During that time, she has shown great commitment in taking on a formidable workload that runs far beyond the scope of the normal secretarial role.
‘She looks after the museum volunteer stewarding rota; the co-ordination answering of local history queries received from members of the public; coordinates publicity as well as a number of other administrative jobs.
‘In recent years, in spite of her increasing immobility and frailty, Dorothy has continued carrying out all these responsibilities from home - by telephone and email.’
Dorothy is also being honoured for her work with the Emsworth Stroke Club.
Dorothy’s husband passed away in 1996 following a stroke.
She said: ‘The stroke club helped a lot when he had his stroke, making life a bit easier to cope with, so I offered to help out.’
Emsworth Stroke Club sadly folded during the first lockdown.
Trevor added: ‘The chairman of the Emsworth Stroke Club Mrs Gillian Knight told me that Dorothy has also been a tower of strength in support of this organisation for many years.’
Dorothy has a stepson, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.