A YOUTH leader has been recognised for her commitment to making a “significant difference” to the lives of youngsters in the Fordingbridge area.

Sue Coatham, who is from Woodgreen, was presented with the 2017 Citizen of the Year Award for her work with Girlguiding. The Rotary Club award recognises people who have made a difference to their communities.

Speaking about receiving the award, she said: “I was surprised. I never thought about anything like that.”

Sue is division commissioner for New Forest Avon and also runs the 2nd Fordingbridge Brownies and Rainbows and helps with the Sandleheath Guides.

She has been involved with Girlguiding from an early age as she explains: “I started when I was seven and never left. I love doing it and it is genuinely fun.”

Sue was nominated for the award for her work supporting girls of all ages in the community through her commitment to Rainbows, Brownies, and Guides.

She says she was “flabbergasted” by the number of people that wrote in to nominate her. “I read the nominations and there were some really sweet things said. You don’t realise the impact you have.

“I enjoy it [Girlguiding] and I enjoy feeling that I’m doing something for those girls”, however many thousands of girls that have come through my hands have benefited in some way.

“It is about preparing these girls for life. The small things all add up.”

She said it was nice to be singled out but praised everyone who helps with the groups, adding: “I am really grateful to everyone else on the team that is what makes everything work, it isn’t just me.”

Sue was presented with her award by Fordingbridge Rotary Club’s president John Oram and a cheque which she is donating to Fordingbridge District Girlguiding.

A Rotary Club spokesman said: “As one proposer said Sue was an obvious choice through her unstinting help and support to girls of all ages in the community through her commitment to Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, and young and adult leaders.

“Sue makes a significant difference to the lives of so many young people.”