Full interviews with our outstanding community heroes who collected New Year Honours

Mark Smith and his son Ryan.
Mark Smith and his son Ryan.

Outstanding achievements by two Skegness area residents have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

The BEM is being awarded to 47-year-old Mark Smith - founder of the Ryan Smith Foundation - for services to supporting people with brain injuries and their families.

Christine Morgan.

Christine Morgan.

Christine Mary Morgan, 69, also receives the BEM for her services to the community in Spilsby.

Mr Smith and his son Ryan’s lives changed forever in 2013 following a road accident. Ryan was riding his bike without a helmet when he was hit by a van. His head injury resulted in him spending four months in a coma.

Since then Mr Smith has visited 110 schools and colleges nationally and spoken to over 25,000 children, promoting the wearing of cycling helmets. He also established the Ryan Smith Foundation which helps and supports families in the same situation.

He has done all of this in his own time, whilst holding down his day job as a full time paramedic at East Midlands Ambulance Service in one of Lincolnshire’s busiest areas.

Alongside Mr Smith at many of the fundraisers has been Ryan. In September they joined other teams in a 1,085m-high charity challenge, dubbed the Snowdon Shove. and took part in the Ride for Ryan fundraiser from Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells.

Mr Smith said: “I’ve been flabbergasted about the award – and very proud. We have done a lot over the past three-and-a half years. Naturally we would have preferred to have a healthly boy doing normal teenage stuff but those were not the cards we’ve been dealt with.”

Doctor’s wife Mrs Morgan lives in Great Steeping and now serves the whole county as Federation Chairman of the Women’s Institute (WI), But she is being honoured for the work she has done locally since arriving in the area 43 years ago.

Mrs Morgan said: “I was very surprised to receive the BEM and absolutely amazed because two completely different groups nominated me.

“I have been extremely lucky as a doctor’s wife who didn’t have to work to have had the time to get involved with many different voluntary projects in the Spilsby area over the years.”

Mrs Morgan has been a committee member for Save the Children for over 25 years, organising fundraising events that have raised an average of £10,000 a year.

For over 30 years, she has been influential in ensuring the elderly residents of Spilsby receive meals to their homes through her work with Meals on Wheels. She has also given her time as a governor at the Great Steeping Primary School between 2006 and 2014.

She says her role as Federation Chairman of the Women’s Institute has become more like full-time work, setting herself the goal when she was appojinted during the WI’s 100th anniversary two years ago of visiting all of her 86 groups from Gainsborough to the coast and down to Friskney.

Mrs Morgan said: “As you can imagine there were a lot of celebration afternoon teas that year which was great fun but not so good for the waistline. I’ve got just 10 more groups to visit and I will have met them all.”

However, she stresses it is not all Jam and Jerusalem. Through her work with the WI she has been able to provide educational opportunities, offer a wide variety of activities and campaign on issues that matter to the members with the latest campaign being Save Our High Street which included supporting local businesses.

She recalls: “We’ve been involved in getting people to support their local shops so we don’t lose them. In Sutton on Sea, for instance, members ran a competition where various things were hidden in local shops but people had to use the shop to enter.”

Her love of meeting people has been one of her driving forces. She said: “It’s been lovely meeting and working with lots of different age groups from all walks of life. That’s what I love most.”