Honour after 86 years of service to the Girl Guides

Celebration: Margaret Rigby's dedication has been recognised
Celebration: Margaret Rigby's dedication has been recognised
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A 99-year-old who has served the Girl Guides since 1927 has received a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours List.

Margaret Rigby, of Devonshire Court, Chorley, was recognised for services to the organisation in Lancashire over a period of 86 years.

She said: “I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet - other people are more excited than me.

“About six weeks ago I had an official letter asking if I wished to accept the honour, and saying that I had to keep it all hush hush. I didn’t find it very difficult.”

Margaret was 13 when she first enrolled as a Girl Guide, and took part in activities such as lighting fires, cooking and going on hikes.

She said: “A lot has changed over the years - the things we used to do then probably seem old-fashioned now, including the uniform.

“However, the Girl Guiding movement is still very worthwhile.

“I developed some great friendships with other people involved, including one girl who I camped with in Eastbourne in 1931.

“We wrote to one another and met up twice over the years until she died about five years ago.”

Mrs Rigby added: “I absolutely loved camping, and apart from 1934 and 1935, I did it every year from 1927 to 1986.

“They were the only holidays I truly enjoyed.”

Mrs Rigby became a ranger and then secretary and leader of various guiding groups, all in the Chorley area.

She now continues her service as a member of the Trefoil Guild, an adult group which gives practical, financial and moral support to the guiding and scouting movement.

She added: “It’s a very good thing to do socially, and is open to anyone over 18.”

A spokesman for the Trefoil Guild said: “We’re really excited about the honour, because it’s so well deserved.

“Margaret’s commitment is ongoing and she continues to give her time to the cause.”

The British Empire Medal will be presented locally, with an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace to follow. This is expected to be in the summer, close to Mrs Rigby’s 100th birthday on June 1.

She said: “That will be a lovely double celebration.”