A WOMAN from Stourbridge is amongst those from the Dudley borough recognised for their achievements in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Julie Grainger is one of 457 people this year to achieve an MBE for her commitment to the community.

Julie has been recognised for her charitable and voluntary services to sufferers of dementia and their families.

The occupational therapist is a group leader at Wolverhampton Alz Cafe based at Penn Church which is a place for people living with dementia and their family and carers.

Julie said she was speechless when she received her letter via email: "I was so overwhelmed and actually broke down when I received the letter as I had no idea. It was completely out of the blue.

"Before Covid we held a party every month with singing, dancing and there would be food.

"We would meet once a month in the evening and we also started a coffee morning on the last Tuesday of every moth between 10am and 12pm.

"We also held bi-monthly trips where we hired a coach for around 60 people and go to places such as The Severn Valley Railway, West Midlands Safari Park and The British Motor Museum.

"Everything is free of charge."

The cafe has not been able to meet because of Covid so Julie sent everyone a card during lockdown and at Christmas a Marks and Spencers voucher.

She also kept in contact with people via phone calls either weekly or monthly.

The 62-year-old added: "Our first trip after the lockdown is planned for July to The British Motor Museum. I am so glad to be back doing what I do.

"The dementia carers have been fantastic as they have had no respite because of Covid. They need help and support as they have been so isolated.

"People with advanced dementia do not socialise as much, so when they come to the cafe its great to see them being surrounded by other people.

"We are all volunteers who work at the cafe and we are all so passionate. I could not have done this without any of them."

The full list of local winners

British Empire Medal (BEM)

Manoj Kumar Lal. Immigration Officer, Immigration Enforcement, Home Office. For services to Assisting Vulnerable Migrants in the West Midlands. (Brierley Hill, West Midlands)

Jane Alison Peplow. For services to Charitable Fundraising and Voluntary Work. (Dudley, West Midlands)