NSPCC stalwart Norma Alcock's MBE celebrated near Hitchin
PUBLISHED: 15:26 27 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:48 31 October 2017
The NSPCC has held a double celebration near Hitchin after a long-serving North Herts stalwart was appointed MBE in the branch's 125th anniversary year.
North and East Herts Branch president Norma Alcock was feted by the child protection charity’s chief executive Peter Wanless, Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen and numerous civic dignitaries at Priory Barns in Little Wymondley on Wednesday.
Norma, of Great Wymondley, was this month honoured by the Queen personally for services to vulnerable children after 40 years of volunteer work with the NSPCC.
The statement nominating the 75-year-old for the MBE read: “She has worked tirelessly over the years to increase awareness of child abuse, and to educate parents and the community through her dedication to the NSPCC.
“She is the face of the NSPCC fundraising within her community and she has worked consistently to engage new supporters, new donors and helped to extend local networks.”
Norma told the Comet: “My friends have supported me with everything I’ve done since I started with a fundraising ball – the MBE is as much for them as for me. If they hadn’t supported me then I wouldn’t have it.
“A girl being looked after by the NSPCC heard that I was going to the palace and sent me a Disney princess drawing with the words ‘Princess Norma’. Children are so beautiful and think of such lovely things.
“If in all the years I’ve only helped her, it would all be worth it. I shall treasure it.”
On hand at the celebratory lunch were the Countess of Verulam, chairman of Herts County Council Richard Thake, North Herts District Council chairman Alan Millard and many others including the mayors of Stevenage, Hertford and Royston.
Those paying tribute to Norma’s efforts included Mr Wanless, who said: “Congratulations, Norma, for your well-deserved MBE. I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and dedication to the NSPCC’s efforts to fight for every childhood over the many years.
“To have the NSPCC improving children’s lives in North and East Hertfordshire over 125 years is testament to the passion of very many volunteers, staff and supporters determined to end cruelty to children.”
Dame Esther added: “What a great achievement to have been active so long. Credit must go to all involved – especially Norma, who has been recognised this year with an MBE for her service.
“I have recently been meeting with adults who used Childline as children, with many becoming teachers and social workers or taking up other roles that help children.
“This is testament to the fact that saved children save other children and shows the lasting impact the charity, enabled by fundraisers, has on individuals and society as a whole.”
The pair urged those present to support this year’s Light Up Christmas for Children campaign, which raises money for Childline over the festive period.
The North and East Herts NSPCC branch developed from local aid committees from the charity, first set up here in 1892, with an inspector appointed the following year.
Just 11 years on the inspector was investigating cases involving 723 children, and by its 50th anniversary the branch had helped more than 16,500 children.
Dame Esther set up Childline as a 24-hour counselling service in 1986, and in 2006 it became part of the NSPCC.
Norma told the Comet that there was a great need for new volunteers in the NSPCC’s North and East Herts Branch, and that anyone interested in helping was more than welcome to get in touch.