NORTON nurse Jean Fletcher has spoken of her shock at receiving the British Empire Medal in the Queens Birthday Honours list.

Jean, aged 83, who didn't retire from nursing until she was 76, was awarded the honour for her services to nursing, to Mary Stevens Hospice and to the National Trust.

She has been a volunteer at the Mary Stevens Hospice In-Patient Unit for past seven years since retiring fully from nursing.

The sprightly octagenarian has also been a steward at Dudmaston Hall in Shropshire for the past 11 years.

Jean admitted: "I thought it was a joke at first when I received the award.

"I don't consider nursing or my volunteering duties as work because it is so enjoyable and I shall continue doing it for as long as I can."

Stevan Jackson, CEO at the hospice, said: “We’re delighted for Jean. This is hugely deserved. It's a great award and it represents recognition for all of our wonderful 500-plus volunteers and those in the commuity.”

Pauline Binek, volunteer service co-ordinator at the Oldswinford hospice, said: “Jean is a very, very calm and gentle person who will befriend and comfort and show compassion wherever needed.

"She’s a lovely lady, very unassuming."