Marion Redfern, who was a volunteer Carer Representative on Vivo Care Choices’ Board for four years, was given a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year’s Honours List for services to people with autism and their families.
She has worked tirelessly, with no financial reward, for more than 25 years to champion the needs of young people and adults with learning disabilities and autism, along with their carers, in Cheshire.
Marion’s son, Jimmy, has autism and all of her work has gone a long way to making sure high-quality services have been created and maintained for him and others like him, as well as promoting greater independence.
Without Marion’s drive and passion, the Supported Living service for adults with autism at Dover Drive in Ellesmere Port possibly would not have been developed. She liaised with the local authority at the time on behalf of families around how important the service would be and a valuable, specialist service has been delivered for almost 20 years since.
She is also a founder member of the National Autistic Society’s Cheshire branch and played a key part in securing much-needed swimming facilities at a local special needs school in Chester.
As well as volunteering her time to help health professionals understand some of the complexities when caring for someone with a disability, Marion was a Trustee of Chester Crossroads and more recently held a position on Vivo’s Board.
She is currently the Secretary of The Friends of Ellesmere Port Network, helping to fundraise so requests from people who use Vivo’s autism and respite services are met.
Marion said: “I am thrilled to be awarded a BEM – it is a huge honour.
“I first became involved with charity work more than 25 years ago to raise awareness of autism and learning disabilities and help get better local services and support for families in Cheshire.
“It is lovely to share this award with my family and we are looking forward to attending events at Tatton Park and Buckingham Palace in the next couple of months.”
Alistair Jeffs, Vivo Managing Director, said: “This is no less than what Marion deserves after years of hard work and dedication to make a difference for people with autism and their families.
“This is a lifetime’s work, but Marion certainly has no intention of stopping.
“She helped to drive Vivo forward in her role on the Board by championing our services and making sure they were delivered to a high quality each day.
“Everyone at Vivo is delighted for Marion as a BEM highlights the impact she has had in the local community, particularly for those with autism and their families.”