By Emma James

A BELOVED grandmother who received an MBE for her charity work has died suddenly aged 55.

The family of Debbie Faulkner, from Shipston-on-Stour, said the cause of her death on Friday, September 29, is still unknown.

Debbie is survived by her husband Cliff, 58, her mother Shirley, 84, her daughter Lizzy, 20, and her three-month-old granddaughter Ruby.

Lizzy, who lives in Stratford-upon-Avon, said she was shocked by the death of her mother, who had been mildly unwell in her last couple of days.

She said: “She was a very bubbly person and always went out of her way to help other people.

“She was involved in a lot of charities all over the place and she got an MBE for all her charity work.”

Prince Charles presented her with the MBE in 2007, after she was nominated by the Fire Service College on London Road, in Moreton-in-Marsh.  Lizzy said: “Her MBE was specifically for services to the fire service, the local community and charity.

“The college noticed everything she was doing and decided to nominate her for an MBE, which she duly received.”

She described the award as “such a crowning achievement”.

“Obviously I would want to tell Ruby about it when she is older,” Lizzy said.

Debbie spent as much time as possible with her granddaughter.

 Lizzy said: “She was over the moon to have her first grandchild. Ruby meant everything to her. She loved her to pieces.”

Cliff, a technology technician at Stratford-upon-Avon School, was married to Debbie for 36 years.

His fondest memory from the marriage was the birth of Lizzy.

“She was a long time coming, so she was that much more special when she eventually arrived,” Cliff added.

Debbie was chair of the board of the Methodist Ministers Housing Society, who provide housing for retired Methodists ministers.

Lizzy said: “She was very keen on the charity Samaritan’s Purse UK.

“Every Christmas you would fill a shoebox full of goodies for a child in various parts of the world who would otherwise not receive any presents at Christmas.”

The family have received many supportive messages from people in the community since Debbie’s death.

Lizzy said: “I am very happy with how much she has influenced people’s lives.

“Dad and I are genuinely shocked at how far she spread, in terms of how many people she knew and how many people were affected in such a positive way.

“We knew her personally in a small family, but we had no idea how far afield so many people held her in such high regard.

“Dad has been inundated with sympathy cards, we’ve had flowers dropped at the door and the phone hasn’t stopped ringing.

Debbie’s funeral will be held on Wednesday, October 18, at 2pm in Shipston-on-Stour Methodist Church.

The family are asking loved ones to donate money in Debbie’s honour to the World Vision charity.

Lizzy said: “Mum sponsored children with them for about twenty years.

“These were children in Africa and places like that, so she kept in contact by post through World Vision and saw them grow up.

“We have had a lot of people saying how much Mum meant to them, so we are expecting quite a busy service.”