A charity fundraiser who has raised over £600,000 in almost two decades has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Gillian Punt, development manager and the wife of Chigwell School’s headmaster, Michael Punt, is one of the many recipients announced on Saturday, June 8, to receive the honour.

The mother-of-three began raising money for Cancer Research and other charities when she lost her father to bile duct cancer 20 years ago.

“We raised about £120,000 within the first year, she explained. “and it’s been ticking over ever since.

“The last five years or so here at Chigwell School we lost a student and staff members to cancer. “We are quite a big school community sadly we are always going to be affected by a disease like cancer so we decided to do something to try and give something back.”

For the past few years, Ms Punt has organised a team of old ‘Chigwellians’, parents and school staff to run in the Royal parks half marathon every October.

The determined fundraiser has also completed seven London Marathons and took part in the annual event earlier this year.

Mrs Punt also holds a Guinness World Record for running the London Marathon in the fastest time dress in a full body costume, her outfit being a polar bear.

Speaking about her father being the main inspiration to continue making donations to charity, Mrs Punt said: “I was very close to him he was a wonderful man and it came completely out of the blue for a sportsman like him to be knocked down by the disease, but sadly there is probably not one family in the country that is not been touched by cancer.

“It was an opportunity to do something positive and the money side of has really snowballed from there