A VOLUNTEER who has dedicated herself to the town's communities for more than 35 years has been awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours list.

Joanne Griffiths, who is undergoing treatment for a serious heart condition, has been recognised for services to young people and the community in St Helens.

Joanne, from Eccleston, has been a volunteer since the age of 14 when she set up a ‘Story Club’ at St Luke’s Church, Knowsley Road and read to seven and eight year olds.

Since then she has been a Sunday School teacher, led youth groups and mum’s and toddler groups.

She has also been the Guide Guider at St Luke's Church for 27 years.

She was the Parochial Church Council Secretary for 19 years and even visited the elderly in the Queen’s Park Ward on her days off work. 

Joanne currently volunteers for the Steve Prescott Foundation and can always be seen with a cheery smile at the finish on the St Helens 10k run. 

Joanne is an international race official for Dragonboating and from 2004 to 2010 was the Great Britain Manager of the Under 18 team.

She manages the British League and has always encouraged young people from St Helens to get involved with Dragonboating. 

Her efforts have continued despite a diagnosis in 2011 with the undetected heart condition, cardiomyopathy, which required open heart surgery.

Unfortunately the septum in her heart continues to grow and she is scheduled for more surgery in January 2016.

Joanne has been married to Paul for 30 years and they have two daughters, Rebecca (28) and Gemma (24).

She works full time at St Helens Council as the Democratic Services Manager.