A woman who has dedicated her free time to helping her community has been recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Patricia Swinson, known as Ann, will receive a British Empire Medal for her services to the community through her work with The Hatch End Association.

The 75-year-old, of Thorndyke Court, has lived in Hatch End since she moved to the area in 1971 and says she hopes her medal will encourage others to join the association in the future.

Mrs Swinson said: “When I first received the letter I just couldn’t believe my eyes and I had to re-read it a few times. I’m very honoured.

“I first joined the association 32 years ago as a bit of a protest against plans to block the end of my road. After about two years I became a member of the committee.

“I have enjoyed my time with the association and I think it is important people take an interest in their community and have pride in where they live.

"One of the highlights for me was the Millennium celebrations. It was great to see all different organisations of the area come together.

“I have always taken an interest in planning issues of the area because I want to see Hatch End leafy and green and to keep its rural quality.”

The association was founded in 1929 by the people of Hatch End with the aim of creating a vibrant community and to provide a voice for the area on issues such as planning and parking.

The British Empire Medal was reintroduced in 2012 by the Government to recognise the work of people’s contribution to their community.