A RUNCORN woman has been given an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Liz Stephens, 66, was among a host of unsung heroes and famous faces to be recognised by the Queen.

The honours were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For more than 35 years, Liz’s leading contribution to Sea Cadets can be summed up as measured and “no-nonsense”, with a considered and inclusive style.

While she now supports more than 60 Sea Cadets units in her role as North West Area Chair, she began life as a volunteer on April Fool’s Day in 1984 at her local unit in Runcorn. Liz was quickly spotted as someone with significant leadership skills.

She soon became chair at both Runcorn and Warrington, doing much to raise funds and in Runcorn’s case, organise its relocation from a rundown hut to a brick building. A tireless fundraiser with a great knowledge of charity law, Liz was first elected as North West Area Chair a decade ago and has led with drive and industriousness ever since.

Despite her volunteering with Sea Cadets and her work as a health and safety consultant, Liz also finds the time to support other charities within the Runcorn and Warrington area, such as Warrington Disability Partnership, Macmillan Nurses, the Latchford Community Hub, Camp Project Wales, several local hospices and Runcorn’s Heath School, where she mentors Year 11 students.

“I was a bit gobsmacked, to be honest,” she said. “All the plaudits usually, and deservedly, go to those volunteers in uniform, who deliver the training and the sessions for the cadets.”

“You don’t do this for praise or for a medal. Genuine volunteers do this because they see kids coming through Sea Cadets and become fully-grown, responsible adults. I’ve always said that if you joined Sea Cadets to win a medal, you should join another organisation.”

“I got involved in Sea Cadets because of my son and a brutally frank letter from his Commanding Officer. My son Ian had been told about Sea Cadets by his best friend and Ian came home with the letter, asking for volunteers. I went down and was soon making teas and coffees. Three weeks later, I was on the Management Board and it’s gone from there.”

She added, “Sea Cadets is now a very professional organisation and this has helped us emerge through this Covid-19 outbreak together. The vast majority of units are really proactive and together with HQ, they’ve reacted brilliantly. After all, it’s not always the fittest who survive, it’s those who most easily adapt which survive.”