New Year’s honour for hard-working Barbara

Barbara Sabin
Barbara Sabin

An unpaid community leader who helped the people of Maltby has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year Honours List.

Barbara Sabin received the honour for services to The Salvation Army and to the Rotherham community.

For 15 years, she had led and ministered at Salvation Army churches in the Yorkshire Division, including two years at the Maltby branch.

Barbara, 73, said she was overwhelmed to receive the letter from the Cabinet Office, but she found it difficult to keep the honour a secret.

She said: “I’ve been married for 53 years and I wasn’t able to tell my husband.”

“I finally was able to tell my family when we sat down for our Christmas meal – I had been so serious they were expecting a sermon. They were over the moon with my news.”

Barbara’s award has is made even more special because her father, Cyril Parkin, was awarded a BEM during the Second World War.

Barbara began volunteering with The Salvation Army in 1998 after which she helped out at Parkgate, Hoyland and Maltby.

She currently leads the Parkgate Salvation Army Corps (church), in her voluntary role as divisional envoy.

During her time there she has organised the food parcel programme, set up a parent-and-toddler group and opened up the building for other community groups to use.

Barbara added: “I have only had a short period of ministry within The Salvation Army but it has been a real joy. All that has been accomplished during this time has been a team effort with our church members and friends.”

“I chose to accept this award on behalf of all those who work and minister through The Salvation Army to support the most vulnerable people in our communities. It is a real recognition of our work worldwide, which we carry out with no expectation of recompense.”

Of her time in Maltby, she said: “I met some lovely people there at Morrell Street. I really enjoyed my time there.”

“I made some lovely friends - I was with them on Christmas Eve.”

Barbara, who is planning to retire as divisional envoy in July, was nominated by a Rotherham JP, who has been nominating her for an honour for the last five years.

“She has been in touch and told me that she has a file on me, and once my honour has been made public she is going to send it to me. She has been writing off for the last five to six years (nominating me for an honour).”

“It was really unexpected, and overwhelming.”