Scarborough's Jean Dixon receives British Empire Medal after 18 years and £750,000 fundraising for Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Selfless volunteer and dedicated fundraiser, Jean Dixon has finally been presented with her British Empire Medal after being awarded it in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 4:34 pm

Jean, from Scarborough, has been volunteering for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance for more than 18 years and has raised more than £750,000 through running the air ambulance’s only dedicated charity shop at the Scarborough Market vaults, and through public speaking.

A year ago, she was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours for her services to charity.

Alongside her family and close friends, Jean finally received her medal on Wednesday (July 7) at the Camp Hill Estate in Bedale which was presented by the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Jo Ropner.

Jean Dixon with her British Empire Medal.
Jean Dixon with her British Empire Medal.

Speaking of her award, Jean said: “I’m over the moon. I had a fantastic day out with my friends and family at the ceremony and I’m so happy to receive this award for my work. I didn’t set out to do anything like this as not many people knew who the Yorkshire Air Ambulance were when I started."

Jean has been running businesses from Scarborough Market Hall for over 57 years and in 2004, shortly after her retirement, she decided to take on an empty stall and raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance as a volunteer.

Starting off in the original market hall with one small stall, over the years she expanded to being a considerable part of the old market hall. After the market hall refurbishment in 2017, Jean and her team relocated downstairs to the market vaults where they have been since.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance shop now consists of two vaults on the lower ground floor of Scarborough Market, with a dedicated clothing shop selling high-quality fashion donated by dress agencies.

Scarborough's Jean Dixon.

Over the last 17 years, with help from her dedicated volunteer team through attending various events, as well as being a public speaker for the Charity, Jean has helped raise more than £750,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Jean was nominated for the award by Jim Goodman, a regular customer of the Scarborough Market vaults charity store, after him seeing Jean’s work for the Charity first hand.

"I said to myself when I joined the air ambulance that I’d like to raise over £1 million pounds and my son said I was a little bit ambitious," Jean said. "But we’re now more than three quarters of the way there. I just hope I live long enough to make the other quarter of a million.”

“It was very hard work, but worth every minute of it and I’m really proud of how far the charity has come. I’m amazed by the people of Yorkshire being so dedicated to the air ambulance, it really does help us raise the vital funds to keep the helicopters airborne and saving lives across the region," she said.

Peter Sunderland, Chairman of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, said: “On behalf of everyone from the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, we would like to a say well done and congratulations to Jean on receiving her British Empire Medal and a huge thank you for her continued support and dedication towards the Charity.

"Jean is a valued member of our volunteering team and a firm part of the YAA family. It is great to see her receive the recognition she deserves for everything she has done for us. It is an honour to have her as part of our team.”

The YAA provides a lifesaving rapid response emergency service to 5 million people across 4 million acres of Yorkshire. It costs £12,000 every single day to keep both of Yorkshire’s air ambulances maintained and in the air.