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New year honours big society

Kirsty Ashton, 21, receives an MBE for fundraising for a childrens charity

Despite media comments about the apparent high level of political party donors in receipt of new year's honours, over 70% of honours this year have gone to people who work or volunteer for community causes.

The youngest recipient this year was twenty one year old Kirsty Ashton from Manchester. She received an MBE for raising over £87,000 for the When You Wish Upon a Star charity that helps children with serious illnesses. Kirsty is a remarkable example of volunteering, managing to raise huge sums of money despite living with neurofibromatosis, a genetically-inherited disorder which affects the skin and nervous system.

In Brighton, Jess Wood the founder of LGBT youth project Allsorts has received an MBE for her services to young people. Jess was inspired to set up the project after she'd mentored a young trans lesbian who was suffering from extreme isolation due to the lack of appropriate services in the area.

Three community activists in Warrington, Cheshire, have recoved MBEs. Dorothy Pritchard, a campaigner for disability charity Mencap - pictured with members of her volunteer team - received her MBE for services to people with Intellectual disabilities. Hilary Thomson who has helped co-ordinate the Fair 4 All stall on Warrington Market was honoured for voluntary service to fairtrade, and former police officer Christopher Upham, well know for his charitable work in the local community with groups like Warrington Lions was honoured for services to Help for Heroes.

In Tetbury, Gloucestershire, Christine Mills received an MBE for her work in founding the cancer charity Hope for Tomorrow which provides mobile units for cancer treatment. Christine, who lost her husband to the disease, set up the charity in response to the 60 mile trip to the nearest treatment centre to ensure that treatment could be brought closer to people's homes.

In Cumbria, Joan Capp recived an MBE for her work supporting the the Bootle Refugee Aid Cumbria UK (Bracuk). Since 1991 she has raised money and gathered supplies for countries hit by civil wars and natural disasters. Joan helps make the deliveries and funds all her own expenses for the trips.

Former YouthNet CEO Fiona Dawe receives a CBE

Sector leaders were also recognised this year. Rod Aldridge, philanthropist and founding Chairman of youth volunteering charity v, received a knighthood and Martina Milburn, CEO of the Princes Trust, and Fiona Dawe CEO of online advice charity YouthNet from 2000 to 2011 both received CBEs.

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said "The vast majority of people recognised include those supporting the big society by making a real difference to their local community through volunteering, fundraising, social action and philanthropy."

For a full list of the New Year's Honours click here.

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