Rotary award for a lady of letters

AN unpaid job Margaret Walker started almost 40 years ago as a favour for her boss has earned her a top award. Ms Walker, of Saffron Road, Biggleswade, was working for local garage Mantles when its owner Ian Mantle asked her to write the correspondence fo

AN unpaid job Margaret Walker started almost 40 years ago as a favour for her boss has earned her a top award.

Ms Walker, of Saffron Road, Biggleswade, was working for local garage Mantles when its owner Ian Mantle asked her to write the correspondence for Biggleswade Rotary Club.

Having been born and raised in the town - she has lived in Saffron Road all her life and declines to reveal her age - she says she remains like the girl guide she once was and loves helping people.

Now Ms Walker, who enjoys gardening as a hobby and reading in retirement as well as the company of her two cats and a rabbit, was presented with the Paul Harris Award, the internationally-recognised award for exceptional service to Rotary.

"I was extremely surprised to get the award and it is a great honour," said Ms Walker.

"I have been involved with the girl guide movement all my life and I still like helping people.

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"I worked for Ian Mantle as his secretary for 38 years and when he was the speaker finder for Rotary here in Biggleswade he asked me to type letters for him and I have been doing it for the club ever since.

"I just enjoy being active, whether it is in the garden or with other people. I was born and brought up in the town so I have seen a lot of changes during my life in the town."

It is estimated Ms Walker has written in the region of 2,000 letters for the rotary club.

Club president Alan Porter said at the luncheon to honour Ms Walker: "All the time she has been with us she has supported just two Rotarians who were both founder members of the club and served as the speaker finder - Ian Mantle and John Burnett.

"For them to have been assisted by just one lovely lady over all that time is nothing short of miraculous.

"This award comes with our huge thanks and the hope she will continue to help the club.

"The award is a mark of the esteem in which she is held, not only by our club, but by Rotary as a whole.

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