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Betty, 80, leads the way as nine British expats honoured 

Betty Burgess, a volunteer in Las Palmas, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to British Nationals Overseas in the New Year Honours List.

First moving to Las Palmas in the late-1960s, Betty has dedicated more than 50 years of her life to the British community on Gran Canaria. Her activities include promoting the great historical, social and economic impact of British settlers to the island; working tirelessly to maintain a British presence through her work with the British Club of Las Palmas, the Holy Trinity Anglican Church and the British Cemetery; and supporting the most vulnerable British nationals through her voluntary work.
HMA Hugh Elliott said: “It is extraordinary to see nine British nationals awarded at the same time – a real testament to the depth and diversity of the UK-Spain relationship and to the contribution that so many British nationals make to their communities across Spain. Betty first worked at the Consulate in Las Palmas in 1974 and her support for the vulnerable has continued from then, including providing help for some of our most in-need customers. She is a much-respected and much-loved member of the local community and this award, coinciding with her 80th birthday, is well deserved.”
Betty said: “Whatever I have been able to do to help British residents or visitors who may find themselves in an unfamiliar, worrying or special situation in Gran Canaria, I have done with pleasure and with no thought of any type of recognition. So I am astonished and delighted to be awarded the British Empire Medal and that my small efforts have been considered worthy of such an honour.”
The nine UK nationals named in the New Year Honours List are:
An MBE to Mr Mark Petrie, Honorary Consul, Denia, Spain. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
An MBE to Dr Charles Betty, Charity and Community Worker in Spain; retired. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
An MBE to Mr Christopher Mark Dottie, President, British Chamber of Commerce, Spain. “For services to British business in Spain.”
A British Empire Medal (BEM) to Mrs Christine (Krista) Ann Hyer, President, Cancer support Group, Mallorca. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
A BEM to Mr Brian Thomas McLeod, Entertainer, Spain. “For services to charity.”
A BEM to Mrs Betty Burgess, volunteer, Las Palmas, Spain. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
A BEM to Mrs Maureen Payne, President, Age Concern, Costa Blanca Sur, Alicante, Spain. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
A BEM to Mrs Sheila Stuart, Chairperson, British Ladies Association, Madrid, Spain. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
A BEM to Mrs Veronica Wheeler, President, British Benevolent Association of Girona, Spain. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”