A Widnes lorry driver who volunteers with Childline says he is flattered to have been honoured by the Queen, and dedicated his award to his late mother.

Jeff Scholes was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, “for services to young people and to charity”.

Jeff, 49, from Widnes, is a lorry driver for the Co-op, and was born and raised in Warrington. He said his mother was one of the reasons behind his volunteering.

Jeff, who has volunteered for Childline for ten years, said: “I lost my mum two years ago, and the very first thing I thought of when I found out I was being honoured was her and how proud she would have been. Her name was Sheila Scholes, and she lost her fight to cancer in late 2017. She inspired me to always help and put others first.

“I work shifts so had spare time in the afternoons and wanted to give something back. Childline was mentioned in a book of volunteering opportunities I got from my local council, and that’s how I got started.”

Since starting with the team at Liverpool’s Great Homer Street Childline centre, Jeff has spoken to thousands of children and young people and helped support them through their darkest hours and said every call left its own memory, but it was amazing to think he’d made a difference.

Jeff found out he had been awarded the BEM back in May, but while he managed to keep it a secret until the Queen’s Birthday Honours list was announced in June, he was not given his honour until an investiture at Tatton Hall in November.

Danielle Azanuwha is volunteer coordinator in Liverpool and said Jeff’s dedication to Childline was inspirational.

Danielle said: “Everyone at the Liverpool centre is so proud of Jeff, and he really deserves every honour for the thousands of lives he’s helped over his decade here at Childline.

“We’re so grateful to Jeff and every one of our volunteers, but it’s such a privilege to know that he’s so well-respected that his work for charity, supporting children and young people around the UK from our base here in Liverpool has led to him receiving such a wonderful honour.”

Jeff said the BEM was a wonderful surprise, but he had received other significant rewards in his time at Childline.

He said: “When you get a thank you from them at the end of a call that they may have been scared and reluctant to make, that’s really something. Nothing beats the feeling that Childline have helped in some way.

“It was so far out of my comfort zone to even think about becoming a counsellor at first but the training given and the excellent team at the base have help make my time there one of my proudest achievements.”

To find out more about volunteering with Childline or supporting the NSPCC, go to www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do