A CRUSADING mum who campaigns against loansharks has received the MBE in the New Year Honours.
Carol Highton, from Runcorn, set up a charity, after her 22-year-old son, Brian, committed suicide in 2005, when his £300 loan rocketed to £3,400 in 12 weeks.
More than 22,000 crisis-torn people have sought help from The Brian Shields Trust since it was launched three years ago.
Carol, aged 49, of Halton Brook, said: ”I’m really pleased to get recognition for this work.
“If I hadn’t set up this charity, I don’t know where these people would have gone for advice.
“A lot of them were on the edge and really desperate when they came to us. It’s not just the unemployed and vulnerable.
“We’ve had teachers and policemen who have fallen into the trap.
“I know that we have saved many families from going through what we did.”
Carol travels all over the country warning of the dangers of loansharks.
She has spoken at conferences and now offers money management advice to Halton schoolchildren.
She fears people are still falling prey to unscrupulous loansharks who bully and terrorise their victims with threats of violence.
Carol said: “It’s still a massive problem in Runcorn and Widnes.
“These predators are waiting on every corner. They make threats to family members.
“I urge people to pick up the phone and talk to us in confidence.
“Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed.
“Don’t sit at home and worry. We are here to help.
“The Government’s benefit changes are going to have a terrible impact on people.”
You can arrange to talk to Carol in strict confidence on 03333 554 545 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit tbs.trust.co.uk