Whitchurch’s latest superhero to be recognised in the New Year’s Honours list has admitted she had to ring up to confirm if her award was real or not.

Judith Haycocks, who is a healthcare assistant at Whitchurch Community Hospital in Claypit Street, was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the care of older people.

But the 72-year-old mum-of-three, with eight grandchildren, said her family shared her absolute pride of being acknowledged for her dedication.

“I found out in November; I’d just come back off holiday and the letter was there,” she said. “When I opened it, I didn’t actually believe it so I rang the Cabinet Office.

“I had to ask them whether it was a joke or not but they said it wasn’t. I just didn’t know it would happen – I couldn’t believe it.

“It was when the lady on the phone congratulated me when I rang that I realised it was true. She told me other people have done that, not believed them and rung them up to confirm.

“I am very proud to receive this honour and so are my family – they can’t believe it either. They can’t believe Grandma is going to be famous.”

Judith, of Highfields Avenue, has lived in the town all her life and has had a long association with working at the hospital, both permanently and on a voluntary basis.

She added that everyone who gives their time up to treat at the hospital are equally deserving of the award.

She said: “I just like looking after people and I just like my job, that’s all.

“Hopefully it shows I have a sense of hard work and the patients are the recipients of that. I was in the Red Cross before that and I used to go into the community hospital.

“If anyone was passing away, then I would go and sit with them. I work days and nights now, carrying out jobs such as getting patients up in the morning, getting them breakfast or washed and dressed.

“I also do a walking group. I do it a lot, so every month or two months, so when I have a walking day I put a list on the wall and people sign up to go off walking in the mountains for a day. There’s a social side to that which I really like.

“Everyone is caring at the hospital, just like me and they all deserve something because it is hard work there.

“We celebrated by going out on New Year’s Eve as my son and grandson were playing in a band in Wem, so we did it with them.

“All the girls in the work have been making a fuss of me too. But it’ll be business as usual for me as I worked New Year’s Day, so I was able to tell everyone.”