Royal honour for community stalwart Gillian

Gillian Corbett receiving her Award from Justice Minister David FordPicture: Michael Cooper
Gillian Corbett receiving her Award from Justice Minister David FordPicture: Michael Cooper

Well known for her

community work across the wider Dromore area, Kinallen

woman Gillian Corbett has picked up a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Gillian (60), a tireless local activist whose voluntary efforts benefit all age groups and take in everything from policing to local events, received the award in recognition of her work for the community.

“It came as a big surprise,” she said, “but it is very much appreciated.”

The royal honour comes hot on the heels of an earlier award for Gillian, a Policing and Community Safety Partnership commendation presented to her at Stormont by Juctice Minister David Ford.

Both awards recognise Gillian’s commitment to reducing crime by way of Rural Watch/Neighbourhood Watch and her active role in the Dromore Community Police Liaison Committee.

Gillian spearheaded the launch of Rural Watch in the Kinallen area in 2003.

Other community contributions for which Gillian earned her BEM include the youth club she launched in Kinallen in 2005.

She has long been a stalwart too of the Kinallen Rural Community Development Association, and it’s her work on behalf of senior citizens that means she must miss out on a September presentation of her award.

The cermony clashes with a seniors group holiday, so Gillian will instead pick up her BEM at Hillsborough Castle next April, ahead of a later garden party at Buckingham Palace.

“It still hasn’t really sunk in,” said Gillian, who managed to keep the award under wraps for weeks.

“The news hasn’t really broken out yet but I’ve already had quite a few calls congratulating me. My husband Tom is delighted.”

Among the first to offer his congratulations was Dromore DUP Councillor Paul Rankin.

He said: “Gillian lives in Kinallen and has been involved in the local community group in Kinallen, as well as Dromore CPLC, for years, to name just two groups.

“Her award is greatly deserved and I would offer my sincere congratulations.”

Asked if she means to slow down or take a step back from her many commitments, Gillian, who turns 61 in July and concedes that managing those commitments involves a fair bit of ‘juggling’, was emphatic in her answer.

“No!” she said. “You probably should be slowing down when you hit your 60s, but no, not yet.”