Denyse Walker revealed that she was “shocked, surprised and over the moon” upon opening a letter that revealed that she was to become a Medalist of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year Honours list.

And since the announcement was made public last week, Denyse explained that she has been inundated with well wishes from people:

“It hasn’t stopped. I’ve had phone calls and messages on Facebook, and everyone is just so positive and happy about it. The reaction from people has been fantastic.”

Denyse received her award for services to Family Welfare. For twenty years she has acted as co-ordinator for Home Start in Fermanagh. Home Start is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times.

Denyse, along with her husband Robbie, has also fostered many children over the years and it is clear that family is something that is very close to her heart.

“I have a great belief in the importance family. I think every family is trying their best and some need help from time to time and we try and provide that help. As one mother said to me once, ‘we provided the armbands when she was in deep water’, which I thought was a lovely thing to hear,” Denyse explained.

Denyse went on to thank her family and her work colleagues in Home Start as well as all the volunteers who work in Home Start and she revealed that “any of them would have been more rewarding of this award than me”.

It is clear, however, that Denyse’s lifelong dedication to helping others makes her a worthy recipient for her award. The reaction she has received from friends, family and indeed strangers shows that the work she has done to promote family life and help both parents and young people demonstrates the high regard she is held in.