A woman who helps secure work placements for the disadvantaged while also securing legal aid for those who need it has been named in the New Years’ Honours list.
Claire Emmerson, from Cullercoats, leads the processing teams who deal with legal aid applications for civil cases at the Legal Aid Agency’s Jarrow office, where she is operations site manager.
The 54-year-old, who is married with three children, has been with the organisation for 38 years.
She has been awarded the British Empire Medal for voluntary and charitable services.
Ms Emmerson, who was nominated by the Legal Aid Agency (LLA), said: “I was very, very surprised.
“I am just at the front end, there are a huge number of staff who have worked with me over a number of years to make what I lead on happen.
“Everything I have done has only been possible with the support and contribution of my colleagues and family.”
Ms Emmerson has worked with local charities to provide work placements for disadvantaged people and has been involved in the LAA mentoring scheme, working with children from schools in deprived areas.
Her nomination also highlighted how her commitment to the LAA has often meant she has sacrificed her own time to support initiatives and staff.
It said: “Her work has significantly enhanced the reputation of the LAA both in South Tyneside and nationally.
“Her selfless behaviour and willingness to take on challenges has made a real difference.”
Ms Emmerson has been a school governor and was chair of governors for St Vincent’s RC Primary School in Walker, Newcastle, for a number of years.
She worked tirelessly with other governors and teachers to improve standards in the school.
Alongside this she has led fundraising activities and raised money for local charities.
The nomination added: “She has great determination and a willingness to succeed which has resulted in many successes despite significant challenges.”