Life in a small rural community can be difficult, particularly for senior citizens. Isolation caused by a lack of social contact, and practical issues such as getting to the doctor, or attending a hospital appointment can sometimes create insurmountable difficulties. Jo Evans recognised these problems and in 2001, under the auspices of the local parish church she formed a steering group to address them, and the project called Rotherfield St Martin was formed.
The project became a charity in 2007 and under her leadership as Project Manager the initial membership of a handful has now grown to several hundred who enjoy a variety of excellent and innovative services. Services which have greatly improved the quality of life for those living in Rotherfield and the surrounding district.
Rotherfield St Martin has been hailed as an exemplar community project, and a great model for other communities to follow. Jo is selflessly committed to the project, but she still finds time support the Rotherfield Players, a local drama group with whom she has had a long association where she is the musical director.
Her efforts and leadership of Rotherfield St Martin have brought, and continue to bring real and substantial benefits to a vulnerable section of the community, and a real improvement to the life of a rural village and its residents.
For her commitment to the community where she continues to provide selfless support and leadership, Her Majesty is pleased to bestow upon Joan Frances Evans the British Empire Medal.
Thank you everyone who came and supported Jo on this very special day.