A WOMAN who set up a family-based charity in Bromyard 15 years ago has been rewarded with an MBE.

Sheenagh Davis established the Holistic Opportunities for Play and Education (HOPE) Family Centre in February 1999, initially helping just two families.

It now works with about 500 families each month, providing family and emotional support ranging from dealing with disruptive children to budgeting and filling out paperwork.

The charity employs 42 people, with more than 20 volunteers helping out.

Mrs Davis says she was shocked to hear that she had received the award for services to children and families, and even doubted whether it was true.

"I was written to back in May," said the 56 year-old, who lives in Bromyard.

"I've not been able to say anything to anyone. It said 'strictly confidential' so I haven't told anyone, even my husband or three sons.

"I'm one of those people who doesn't like counting my chickens. But I recently received a call from Lady Darnley, the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, who confirmed the news."

Mrs Davis says she was nominated for recognition in the Queen's Birthday Honours by her colleague Aisling Hurney.

She says the charity began operating from an old magistrates court, and is now settled at their base on the Hereford Road.

"Over the years we have raised more than £2 million," said Mrs Davis.

"I've got a great fundraising team here. I'm just the mouth at the front really."

Mrs Davis says she is very grateful for the support her family has given her over the past 15 years.

"I've put Hope first quite a lot of the time, and I really appreciate my family's support.

"I have a very supportive husband who is known as 'long-suffering Nigel'.

"I think he'll be very proud when he finds out about the MBE."

Also recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours was Sutton St Nicholas resident Susan Davies, a former co-ordinator at Herefordshire Heartstart, who was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to emergency first aid.

Meanwhile, Susan Norrington, from Longtown, was also given a British Empire Medal for services to music for Craswall in recognition of her role as founder and director of Concerts for Craswall.