Blackpool and Garstang businesswoman's pride as she is awarded an MBE
An inspirational businesswoman who has dedicated her life to helping the community has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honour's list.
Dawn Cheetham, 57, says she feels "very honoured" to have been given the accolade for services to business and to the community in Lancashire.
The mum-of-one, originally from Blackpool, lives in Garstang with her husband Mark and son Richard, 19, and is a director of Blackpool-based family firm Commercial Kitchen Services (CKS).
The honour recognises her significant contribution to the North Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce as an unpaid non-executive director.
Through her work, the Chamber saw a 20% increase in its membership, resulting in a 23% increase in membership income.
For several years she maintained generous support to the Be Inspired Business Awards (BIBA’s) Foundation, which was founded as a charity to raise funds and offer grants up to £5,000 to 16 to 24 years olds in the county to develop skills, expand and build businesses.
Dawn is also involved in a weekly youth club, the Highfield Kidz Club in Blackpool, which is part of South Shore Methodist Community Church (SSMCC), sometimes organising excursions to places that the children wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to visit.
If this wasn't enough, the busy business leader is also a school governor and member of the Finance and Audit Committee of Ripley St Thomas School in Lancaster, which has 1,750 students, and where her son used to attend.
She is involved with the Bay Learning Trust, which was set up by Ripley St Thomas in 2016, to bring together a family of schools in the area.
She also plays the church piano at SSMCC and Garstang Methodist Church.
Today she described all of her roles as "rewarding" and encouraged other people to get involved with their communities.
She added: " There are many things you can get involved in.
"I think the link between young people and business is vitally important, whether it's through school or work, work experience or industry days. Letting the kids believe in themselves and aspire to something, and giving them the confidence they can, all of that blends together.
"My opportunity came from having supportive parents, we were taught to work hard and if we did have talents to use them.
Dawn believes it is important for young people to have a stabilising influence.
She adds: "I didn't particularly want to set the world on fire but I wanted to be a good example."
The Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) is the third highest ranking Order of the British Empire award (excluding a knighthood/damehood). It rewards contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service.