Doncaster charity stalwart takes centre stage in New Year’s Honours

Yvonne Rufus with her letter from the cabinet office.
Yvonne Rufus with her letter from the cabinet office.
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A big-hearted Doncaster grandma who has helped raise nearly £1 million for charity has been recognised for her dedication with a special award from The Queen.

Grandma-of-six Yvonne Rufus is awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours’ List for her charity work.

Mrs Rufus, aged 60, has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds over the last decade by organising shows for the ‘Stars In Our Eyes’ troupe.

The performers impersonate stars such as Freddie Mercury, Dolly Parton and Boy George, at pubs and clubs.

Mrs Rufus, of Scott Avenue, Conisbrough, said: “I am amazed to receive this award. But it isn’t just for me, it’s an award for everyone who has been involved with the fundraising.”

She was nominated by Barnsley District Lions Club, which has received thousands of pounds from the group.

Her husband Colin, 62, a retired builder, added: “I am so proud of her, and everyone involved, for all they have done.”

Hilda Green, also from Doncaster, was made BEM for services to the community in Wheatley Hills.

The fundraising keep fit instructor, a 77-year-old grandmother-of-six, from Fernhurst Road, has been keeping residents on their toes at the weekly St Aidan’s Keep Fit Group in Ennerdale Communal Hall ever since she launched it in 1971.

The group has raised thousands of pounds for charity and the former teacher arranges regular trips to the theatre for residents.

She said: “I am so surprised, it’s unbelievable.”

In Derbyshire recipients included former Matlock Water Polo Club president, Reginald Smith, who is set to receive a British Empire Medal for services to the club.

Eion Watts, leader of the Labour-led Bolsover District Council, receives an OBE for services to local government while superintendent Gary Parkin of Derbyshire Police has been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.

Pamela McConnell is made MBE for services to the community in Chesterfield, Derbyshire and to charity through the Association of Inner Wheel Clubs in Great Britain and Ireland.

Robert Ludditt, a debt collector for HM Revenue and Customs in Chesterfield receives an MBE for services to debt collection and Frank Smith, chair of governors for Chesterfield College is made OBE for services to education.