A SOUTHEND woman has won a national award after dedicating more than 45 years to helping others.
Rita Piller, 90, has been given a British Citizen Award for her services to volunteering.
The British Citizen Awards were launched last January to recognise exceptional individuals who make a positive impact on society.
For more than 20 years, from 1965, Rita, who was then hard of hearing, was the founding Brown Owl leader for the 4th Thorpe Bay Brownies and helped to form two other packs.
Rita is now profoundly deaf in one ear, and substantially deaf in the other, and suffers from eye condition dry macular degeneration.
She volunteered at the Eye Clinic at Southend General Hospital from 1996 giving advice and support to new sufferers.
Rita has also been honoured twice by the Southend Blind Welfare Organisation where she volunteers.
She was one of 29 people honoured at a ceremony on January 26, at the Palace of Westminster.
The ceremony was compered by TV presenter, and BCA patron, Bradley Walsh.
Rita said: “I am completely overwhelmed by the award as I have only been doing what my Christian upbringing has taught me to do, to think of others first before myself.”
Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers co-founder and BCA Patron, who presented Rita with her award, said: “Many congratulations to you Rita on receiving this medal, you are an inspiration to us all. Despite your own challenges with your hearing and sight you have dedicated your whole lifetime to helping others and have made countless lives happier in the process.”
Rita was nominated for a BCA by her youngest son, Richard Piller, who said: “I thought that at the grand old age of 90 and still contributing to her community, that my mother’s story should be heard and recognised."