Jackie Avery has been awarded a BEM for her work with Armed Forces charity SSAFA.

An Appledore woman has been honoured for her work with an Armed Forces charity in the New Year’s Honours List.

Jackie Avery, from Appledore, was awarded a BEM for voluntary service to ex-service personnel through her work with Armed Forces charity SSAFA.

Jackie, who is secretary of the North Devon and Torridge division, has volunteered with SSAFA for 25 years, since her husband David left the Army.

She said the BEM was a pleasant surprise but she had debated whether to accept it or not.

“I was somewhat taken aback when I found out,” she said.

“I’ve got to admit it did cross my mind not to accept it. It’s hard to explain, it seemed a little OTT.

“I think it’s a trifle old fashioned, but it is nice recognition for SSAFA.

“We don’t spend any money on publicity and SSAFA deserves some recognition.”

SSAFA works with those who have served and are still serving in the armed forces, helping with issues from accommodation to psychological support.

She said: “We look after service and ex-serving people and their families, for anything really.

“We help them when they come out if they need anything, from something as trivial as white goods.

“We find a lot of people are coming out earlier in life and finding it difficult getting jobs down here.”

Jackie is also president of the Appledore Residents Association, as well as running the North Devon Hospice café at Appledore Book Festival.

She has been married to David for 52 years and they have three sons and five grandchildren.