A DEVOTED tour guide was awarded a British Empire Medal in front of her watching family and friends.

Miriam Harvey, 80, was presented with the medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire Lt Col Patrick Holcroft at the Guildhall for her services to heritage and tourism.

Mrs Harvey was a founder member of Worcester Walks and has been their secretary for the last 17 years in addition to being a volunteer in the archives of Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum for 15 years.

She said: "I was absolutely stunned to be given a British Empire Medal.

"I was sent a letter from the cabinet office and I thought that there had been a mistake.

"I have had so much support from my family over the years, particularly from my husband so I would like to thank them.

"It is really nice to receive the award in Worcester, I was allowed to invite 20 people to come, I think I may have a few more than that.

"Worcester is a wonderful place and I really love showing people the sights, and we now do talks for people who struggle to walk around the city."

Mrs Harvey worked for the NHS as a theatre sister in charge of emergency operations at Ronkswood Hospital for 42 years until she retired in 1996 before qualifying as a green badge tour guide for the city.

She was also elected to the executive committee of the Worcester Tourism Association and served as their chairman for three years and was the lead when the Riverside Artists Market started in South Quay, and ran it for ten years.

Lt Col Holcroft said: "This is one of the parts of my role that I enjoy the most.

"These awards are predominantly given to charity workers and volunteers. The recipient won this award ahead of thousands who unfortunately missed out, that shows you something and I would like to say thank you on behalf of the county and on behalf of the nation."

She was included in this year's New Year's Honours list.