A Veryan grandmother has been awarded a British Empire Medal for voluntary and charitable services to the community on the Roseland.  

Margaret Cortis has an impressive CV of volunteer work, from charity fundraising and children’s groups to an active role in the local arts scene.  

A Yorkshire woman by birth, Margaret moved to her late husband’s native Cornwall some four decades ago. She spent 33 years working as an estate agent in St Mawes, and immersed herself in her local community by doing volunteer work, including a 12-year stint as a cub scout leader. 

A keen performer, the busy septuagenarian has acted as an adjudicator for the Cornwall Drama Association, and as director of the St Mawes pantomime – the 2024 production of Treasure Island is her 13th, and will run from February 14 to 18 at St Mawes Memorial Hall.  

She also chairs Cornwall Hospice Care’s Roseland fundraising group committee, whose dedicated helpers raises a substantial amount of money at various functions - “usually   involved in eating!” – including a month-long charity shop in St Mawes church hall during the summer.  

Margaret is also the current chair of Veryan and District Autumn Show, a one-day display of horticultural and domestic produce show which is been running for nearly 100 years.  

Margaret found out about the award in November. “The first thing you see when you open the letter is the words ‘In strictest confidence’,” she said. “It’s quite difficult not to mention it to anyone, not even the family – and this is a close-knit community in the village. 

“Come the New Year, the list is published in the London Gazette. At 7.30am that morning, I had a call to say someone had heard my name on the radio. My family were delighted.” 

How does she fit it all in? “I’m retired and I’m a widow, so I have time,” she says, “but I’ve always done it – I was brought up in a family where everyone helped each other.”  

Margaret paid fulsome tribute to her fellow volunteers and Roseland residents. “I’m very grateful to whoever nominated me but I feel it’s a nice thing for the whole of the Roseland,” she insisted.  

“I am only part of a wonderful network of people who support each other and various charities throughout the year.   

“The generosity of the Roseland people is legendary and I am not the only person doing what I do. 

“I am fortunate to have lived in the Roseland for over 40 years, and know how lucky I am.”