Sixty-year-old postmistress Tina May, of Christian Malford, near Chippenham, has won the BEM for her services to North Wiltshire, and the Cabinet Office is full of praise for her good work helping the lonely and vulnerable.

In its citation, the Cabinet Office said: “She moved with her family to the area of North Wiltshire 14 years ago.

"Having identified a need for a local postal service, she trained as a postmistress, and although she is based in Christian Malford, she runs five other rural post offices part-time.

"This service is a lifeline to many in these remote areas and particularly the elderly who have limited mobility.

“In her role as postmistress, she is always ready with a warm welcome and a friendly chat which has become increasingly important to those susceptible to loneliness and feelings of isolation during the recent pandemic.

"Her prior experience as a carer equips her with the empathy and consideration towards others, often drawing people in for a random chat.

“She visits elderly vulnerable people whom she visits at home, runs errands for and often takes to hospital appointments. She rallied members of the community to organise a surprise 80th birthday for a gentleman who has no family.

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“When she is not busy with her postal duties, she is an active member of the local branch of the Women’s Institute and for three years prior to the pandemic has been the President of Christian Malford and Foxham WI.

“She is also actively involved in her local church and has taken on the specific responsibility of looking after those preparing for baptism, reassuring and guiding parents in the way forward.”

Tina said: “When I first got the letter I was at work and I wasn’t sure what it was. But when I read it properly I got very emotional and I had to sit down.

“But I was driving when the man from the Cabinet Office rang to read me the commendation and I had to pull over because I was so gob-smacked.

“I have no idea who it was who put me up for this award, I can’t think who it could be, and I’m bewildered that I’ve won an award for what I do.”