Boston woman receives award in Queen's Birthday Honours List, following in mum's footsteps

A woman from Boston has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, following in the footsteps of her mother
BEM-recipient Lydia Fairman, of Boston.BEM-recipient Lydia Fairman, of Boston.
BEM-recipient Lydia Fairman, of Boston.

Lydia Fairman received the honour for services to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and to vulnerable people – specifically women experiencing violence – during Covid-19.

It is the same award that was given to her mother Alison Fairman, chairman of Boston in Bloom, in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List.

Lydia said: “It was a huge and wonderful surprise to receive the nomination for a BEM. My Mum got a BEM for the work she does in the community in my hometown of Boston and I suspect she’s the best role model there is – I can’t believe I am even in the same category!”

Lydia, lead capability and development manager at Network Rail, was honoured for her work in STEM throughout the pandemic and for leading a team of volunteers who gained Network Rail’s accreditation with White Ribbon, one of the leading charities aiming to end violence against women.

A spokesman said: “Lydia and her team developed online materials for teachers and children at the start of the pandemic to support children and teachers struggling with the new world of learning from home, and her work has had a huge impact on Network Rail’s ability to engage with young people, reaching 170,000 people with vibrant and innovative STEM education in two years.

“In addition to gaining accreditation with White Ribbon, who can provide the support and knowledge to help employees who may be suffering, Lydia has helped to develop training for staff on how to spot the warning signs of abuse, so managers are better prepared to help their teams reach out, signposting to where further support can be found for managers, HR and the teams involved.”

Lydia added: “I work with a fantastic team of people who all pulled together through the pandemic to support parents who were balancing parenting and working as schools were closed. The work I have the opportunity to do in STEM gives me life, we see the impact it can have on young people almost every day and it’s vital we make sure young people know just how many opportunities really sit at their feet.

“Separately, achieving accreditation with White Ribbon was a huge achievement. The murders of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard show just how much work there is to do to improve the safety of women. Covid-19 placed anyone trapped in an abusive relationship in great danger where they were isolating with their attacker, so many people in Network Rail and across the industry worked together to raise awareness of the issue and I was just one of those people lucky enough to be in a position to make an impact.”

The BEM is awarded, in the Government’s words, for a ‘hands-on service’ to the local community, for ‘a long-term charitable or voluntary activity, or innovative work of a relatively short duration that has made a significant difference’.

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