One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Gateshead Fundraiser On Queen's Birthday Honours List
A Gateshead woman who raised £300,000 for a mugged disabled pensioner has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list
The 22-year-old has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for her charity work, which she has continued with after founding her own charity.
The mother-of-one, who runs her own business as a beautician, won public praise when she raised more than #300,000 for 67-year-old Mr Barnes, who was attacked outside his home in Gateshead in January.
She described the months of fundraising and press attention as "going by in a blur'' and said she is still in regular contact with Mr Barnes who is now helping her to raise money for other people.
Speaking of her decision to set up a fundraising appeal for Mr Barnes, she said:
"It was horrible, what happened to Alan. I think it touched and affected everyone and I just wanted to help him. But receiving an award is surreal, I cried for three days when I found out.
Since I started fundraising for Alan I've been contacted by individuals asking for help and businesses wanting to offer support so I started the Katie Cutler Foundation as a way to continue the charity work.
I've had to cut back on my business and it's been harder financially but it's worth it for all the opportunities I've had and people I've met and been able to help.
A lot of people have said to me I'm a role model. I've never been good at taking compliments but I think I've started to sort of accept it now.
I think if you really want to do something you should just do it.' '
Mr Barnes, whose disabilities were caused when his mother contracted German measles during pregnancy, said:
"It's more than an award, it's an honour and something to live up to once all the publicity dies down, but I'm sure (Katie) will be able to manage and I'm happy for her.''
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