The great and the good of Wiltshire have been recognised in The Queen’s New Year Honours awards, with the emphasis this year going on rewarding the good for the kind work they did during the Covid crisis.

And they don’t get much more good-hearted than tireless community volunteer and solicitor Sarah Williams-Martin, of Melksham, for whom the award of a BEM is the latest recognition of her charitable work. She has also had a train named after her because of it.

Last year Sarah, 43, was nominated by BBC Radio Bristol listeners to become a Make a Difference Superstar for her outstanding efforts for others during the pandemic.

Sarah, who has also been championed for her efforts to raise awareness of dementia, won her superstar status for her work with Compassionate Community Emergency Volunteer Response in Bath and North East Somerset.

She volunteers seven days a week and built a database to manage the 2,500 volunteers who signed up to help during lockdown. She ensured that every person who contacted the group was given the support of a volunteer. As a result, she will have a high-speed Great Western Railway train named after her.

Sarah has won the BEM For services to the community in Bath and North East Somerset during Covid-19.

READ MORE: New Year's Honours: All our Wiltshire winners of OBE, MBE and BEM

In its commendation, the Cabinet Office said: “Sarah is a keen advocate for grassroots community organisations and was well placed to sign up with a group of dedicated community volunteers to help vulnerable people across Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) access food and medication from the beginning of the first lockdown.

“Through the existing 3rd Sector Group ,which already supported charities, social enterprises and community groups in the area, she galvanised a team of volunteers, calling themselves Compassionate Communities to head up an immediate community-wide response to Covid.

“She built a designated digital support system to manage a volunteer database to coordinate the efforts of the 2,500 volunteers. The programme offered a robust payment system which not only facilitated fast purchases of essential items, speeding up the whole process but also negated the exposure of the vulnerable by avoiding physical money exchanges.

“In order to spread the word of the new services being offered, she organised a massive leaflet drop to 80,000 residents delivered by over 200 volunteers. To date, the group Compassionate Communities, has helped over 4,000 people, transacted over £150,000 worth of shopping and re-habilitated over 450 people to live independently.

“She also worked long shifts to recruit, train and organise a rota of over 1,000 volunteers to man the mass vaccination centre in Bath, ensuring the centre operates at maximum capacity and that all visitors receive a positive onsite experience, and in her role as chair of the B&NES Dementia Action Alliance, she also compiled a special dementia wellbeing pack for those forced to isolate to offset loneliness and depression.”

Sarah said: “It’s a lovely, lovely thing to be recognised. But in fairness, somebody had to pull it all together and I was simply steering so many great people who wanted to volunteer.

“So this award is also for them, all of the volunteers who stepped up and have worked so hard to help others.”