Ida walking on air after New Year’s Honours recognition

IDA Ashworth has enjoyed a year of surprises but nothing greater than the award of the British Empire Medal.

Ida celebrating her 90th birthday

The sprightly 90-year-old, founder and now president of Oldham Wednesday Walkers in 1986, had her new title confirmed in the New Year’s Honours List.

“It’s quite a thing,” said Ida who had celebrated her latest birthday on August 21, 2018 with a surprise party thrown by fellow walkers.

“It’s been a pleasure to run the walking group and to see it grow to what it is now.

“But I didn’t think it warranted anything like this. 

“The party was a lovely surprise and this just tops off the year.”

In keeping with tradition Ida had to keep a secret for nearly a month when a letter from the Cabinet Office popped through the letterbox confirming the BEM ‘for services to the community in Oldham’.

“You are sworn to secrecy until the awards are published in the Gazette just after Christmas,” added Ida who founded her walking group after retiring from Ferranti in Hollinwood.

“It was a relief when I could tell people,” she laughed. 

“I’m not sure yet when I will be presented with the medal, I’m waiting for confirmation from the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire’s office.

“But it will probably be in Lancaster, not Buckingham Palace. That’s for the OBEs and the knighthoods.” 

Ida is still a regular walker, turning out with the ‘amblers’ branch of the Wednesday Walkers.

“I go out with my husband John but I can’t keep up with some of the group like I used to and I don’t want to slow people down.”

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