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Queen's Birthday Honours: Former Uttlesford councillor Julie Redfern's Covid community work recognised

Former Uttlesford district councillor Julie Redfern has been recognised for her community efforts during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Conservative, who served as UDC's cabinet member for housing, was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

At first, Julie, who runs the Beauty Box salon in Saffron Walden and is deputy chair of Saffron Walden's BID (Business Improvement District), thought the email informing her of the award was spam.

Julie Redfern by Celia Bartlett Photography (42658737)
Julie Redfern by Celia Bartlett Photography (42658737)

But when she showed it to Antony, her husband of 26 years, he admitted he already knew she had been nominated for recognition for her work in their home village of Great Chesterford.

Julie, whose 12-year stint as a district councillor ended when she lost her seat in the May 2019 local elections, was instrumental in setting up a group called Good Neighbours in the parish before the pandemic struck.

As lockdown began, she used her husband's technical skills to set up a 24-hour helpline and worked with the vicar, the Rev Alex Jeewan, and 80 volunteers to ensure the village's elderly and vulnerable got emotional support and practical help, including prescription collections and shopping for those shielding.

She teamed up with the Plough pub to deliver Mother's Day lunches and catered again at Easter, providing more than 70 hot meals for Chesterford's seniors. Her next big challenge is to organise a Christmas dinner delivery instead of the festive meal she usually organises every year.

As coronavirus infections climb once more, Julie and her team are on standby to step up their support. She said: "Those who feel vulnerable are starting to feel more vulnerable."

She added: "I'm incredibly honoured to be honoured, but I have made it clear I'm a team player and everything I have done is because I'm part of a great team and a lovely village."

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