A FORMER magistrate who created a friends group for Erlestoke Prison, near Devizes, has been made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Belinda Southwell, 82, first became involved with prisons when she was a magistrate in London and became an official visitor at HMP Brixton.

When she and her retired QC husband Richard moved to Wiltshire 32 years ago she became part of the independent monitoring board at Erlestoke and seven years ago set up the Friends of Erlestoke Prison group.

She was awarded her MBE for services to offender rehabilitation and the community in Wiltshire.

The mother-of-three and grandmother of 10, who lives in Upton Lovell, near Warminster, said she was shocked when she was told about the honour. She said: “It made me feel very humble and unworthy.”

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List demonstrates the breadth of service given by people from all backgrounds from all across the UK.

In total, 1,495 people received an award, including people from the three armed services, ambulance services, and commonwealth countries overseas.