A woman from Kew has been commended by the Queen for her work with a children's cancer charity. 

Shirley Clark, 63, has been recognised for her services to people with neuroblastoma at the charity, Neuroblastoma UK.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours are awarded to recognise the outstanding achievements and service of people from all walks of life, across the UK, to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Shirley, participating in a Kew charity run Shirley, participating in a Kew charity run

Shirley became involved with Neuroblastoma UK as a fundraiser and volunteer nearly 25 years ago, following the loss of her daughter Joanna.

Joanna sadly passed away in 1995 when she was just eight years old, after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer.

Shirley joined the Board of Trustees in 2006 and became the charity's secretary in 2015 until retiring in December 2020. 

Shirley said: “I am incredibly honoured to have been awarded a British Empire Medal and humbled to be included alongside so many remarkable people. Being a Trustee at Neuroblastoma UK has been a huge part of my life for the last 15 years; it’s a wonderful charity doing amazing things and it has been a privilege to work alongside many committed and inspiring people.

“There has been great progress in neuroblastoma research over the years and I am proud to have been a part of it. But more still needs to be done, to ensure that no other family loses a child to this horrible cancer like we did. Being involved in the charity has helped me ensure that my daughter’s passing can make a difference to children with neuroblastoma in the future.”

Throughout her time at the charity, Shirley played a pivotal role and remains passionate about raising money for neuroblastoma research.

Shirley has been a stalwart of cheering points for London marathon runners, supported hundreds of volunteers raising money across the country and through her own personal efforts, raised thousands of pounds for research.

She took part in the Thames Bridge Trek in 2016, for the 21st anniversary of Joanna’s death, raising over £2,000.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Shirley completing the Thames Trek in 2019Shirley completing the Thames Trek in 2019

She completed the challenge a second time in 2019, in the same month as running in the Kew Gardens 10k as part of Richmond Runfest, her first 10k in 37 years. 

Tony Heddon, Chairman at Neuroblastoma UK, praised her dedication. He said:  

“Shirley truly deserves this recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She is a key member of the collective Trustee team and made a significant contribution in all aspects of the charity.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that without Shirley’s commitment and effort over the last fifteen years, the charity would have struggled to be as effective as it has been in raising funds to support cutting edge research in neuroblastoma. From sending out mailings to working with families and taking on her own personal fundraising challenges, she has made a huge difference to our charity and we are so incredibly proud of what Shirley has achieved. ”