A Chigwell teacher has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).

Gill Punt who was presented with the British Empire Medal by Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, at a ceremony held at the County Hall in Chelmsford.

Gill, a teacher at Chigwell School, was awarded the BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her impressive efforts raising funds for Cancer Research UK and other cancer charities over the past 20 years.

Gill said: “I’m humbled and, to be honest, rather embarrassed to have been awarded this honour. It’s a huge privilege and one my late father would have been very proud of. Sadly there is probably not one family in the Country that has not been touched by cancer, so I will continue with the fundraising endeavours.”

A determined charity fundraiser she has raised over £600,000 in almost two decades since her father died of bile duct cancer.

She has run the London Marathon seven times and was awarded a Guinness World Record when she became the fastest woman to complete a marathon in a full body animal costume, a polar bear.

Each year Gill arranges for staff, parents, former pupils and friends to participate in the Royal Parks Half Marathon which raises further funds and is one of the many events that brings the wider school community together for a good cause.