Hairdresser recognised on New Year Honours list for £500,000 fundraising

Gill Creed who has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours for her fundraisi

Gill Creed who has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours for her fundraising, raising almost £500,000 since 1985, at her shop Just Hair in Swaffham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A hairdresser who began raising money for good causes almost 40 years ago following her breast cancer diagnosis has been honoured with a British Empire Medal (BEM).

Gill Creed, from Swaffham, has been recognised in the New Year Honours list 2022 for services to fundraising and her community. 

The 67-year-old's ceaseless efforts in aid of various charities and health services began in the mid-1980s, soon after she was told she had breast cancer. 

Through her salon Just Hair, on Station Street, Mrs Creed and colleagues have gone on to raise around £500,000 over the ensuing decades.

Gill Creed's shop Just Hair in Swaffham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Gill Creed's shop Just Hair in Swaffham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

She said that, upon discovering news of her honour, she "simply could not believe it". 

Mrs Creed added: "The letter had arrived on Saturday, December 4. When I got home from work, my husband Keith said 'there is a letter here for you which I think you need to sit down and open'.

"Since then we were sworn to secrecy. I only told my son on Thursday (December 30) night as I wanted to tell him before the news came out the next day."

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It was in March 1984 that a young Mrs Creed - then aged 29 and with a son just nine months old - received her diagnosis, before having a mastectomy.

Determined to ensure something positive came of her experience, she decided to get behind the campaign for a new CAT scanner at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn. 

Loyal customers rallied around her efforts and, in just 12 months, Mrs Creed managed to raise £25,000 through a variety of different events - and that was just the start.

Gill Creed who has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours for her fundraisi

Gill Creed who has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours for her fundraising, raising almost £500,000 since 1985, at her shop Just Hair in Swaffham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Over the years, through activities including sponsored bike rides, coffee mornings and even the London Marathon, she has gone on to generate hundreds of thousands of pounds in crucial funding for groups including MacMillan, the National Autistic Society and the Swaffham-based Merle Boddy Centre. 

"I feel so humbled to receive the medal, because I could not have done it without all the girls at the salon, or my family and friends," added Mrs Creed.

"It is not something I am able to do all on my own."

Head to edp24.co.uk to find out which other Norfolk heroes have been recognised in the New Year Honours list.