MONEA woman Catherine Irwin has been awarded an MBE for her services to Girlguiding. She has been a dedicated Girlguiding volunteer for more than 30 years.

Catherine said: “I am extremely proud to receive this award from Her Majesty, The Queen.

"The work we do at Girlguiding helps and supports nearly 400,000 girls and young women across the UK.

“Girlguiding opens up so many fantastic opportunities for girls to grow in confidence and become a powerful force for good in their communities.

"I would like to dedicate this award to all the girls I’ve had the pleasure of knowing over the past 30 years.”

Catherine’s Guiding adventure began when she turned nine and joined First Monea Guides.

She added: “I couldn’t wait to become a guide!”

She has held numerous and varied Girlguiding roles, including being a British Youth Council delegate, outdoor adviser, district commissioner, county commissioner, and Girlguiding Ulster trustee.

She has also served on the World Association of Girl Guides and Guide Scouts' Strategy and Planning committee.

Catherine has consistently supported girls through her local Guide and Ranger units over the years as well as taking on roles to support other volunteers, and to connect girls at home with those from nations across the world to share experiences, learn from each other and have fun together.

Appointed as Girlguiding’s UK Chair of the Board in 2018, Catherine’s voluntary contribution includes bringing her senior corporate experience to the role and leading the charity’s new strategy.

Under Catherine’s leadership of Girlguiding’s Board of Trustees, the charity has taken bold steps to increase the diversity of the Board, revitalise its offer for girls and young women, improve its support service for its 100,000 volunteers, and to keep the safety of members its number-one priority.

Around for more than 100 years, the charity launched its new strategy at the start of 2020 with a goal to ensure it can offer the fun, friendship, skills, and life-changing opportunities Guiding can bring to even more and a greater diversity of girls across the UK.

Outside of guiding, Catherine has worked as a Senior Global Leader with the Du Point Company, and is the current Director of Music at Rossorry Parish Church.

She is a mum to her three children, Alastair (27), Andrew (24) and Rebecca (21), and a wife to Ian.