South Yorkshire Green campaigner gets BEM

Helen Kirk receives her British Empire Medal from the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, David Moody, on the Humberhead levels.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Helen Kirk receives her British Empire Medal from the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, David Moody, on the Humberhead levels. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
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Everything’s coming up roses for a committed conservation campaigner who has been awarded one of Britain’s highest honours.

Green volunteer Helen Kirk has been presented with the British Empire Medal - in the wild and windswept landscape of Thorne Moors - in one of the most unusual investitures ever carried out in the region.

The Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire David Moody braved damp and grey conditions to hand over the honour to Mrs Kirk, volunteer executive secretary of the Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum.

Helen, aged 53, picked up her medal on the Humberhead Levels, between Goole and Doncaster yesterday - and she admitted she was delighted to take delivery in such tranquil surroundings.

She said: “Naturally I am honoured to receive this recognition, and at the same time humbled that others were moved to nominate me.

“More importantly I see it as a clear recognition of the significance of Thorne and Hatfield Moors and the value of ensuring that they are properly looked after.

“It is also a testimony to the work of everyone else who has played a part in the struggles to protect the Moors over the years and an encouragement for the future battles which will undoubtedly and sadly

still lie ahead.”

Helen was recognised for her conservation campaigning, especially to protect Thorne and Hatfield Moors, in the New Years Honours list 2013.

The BEM was presented on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, in an open air ceremony, which saw many other conservation campaigners from recent decades reunited.

Following the investiture, Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, said: “As a new MP, Helen educated me about the importance of Thorne and Hatfield Moors.

“In 2003, when the Moors were protected by the Labour Government, I thought we could sit back and enjoy it.

“A decade later, Helen still reminds me why we can’t. She is Doncaster’s most effective conservationist.

“And the fact she never seeks the limelight and never gives up is to her eternal credit.

“Helen’s British Empire Medal is well deserved.”

The moors cover land north of Moorends and Thorne.