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Selfless student receives British Empire Medal

Published: 5 January 2021 at 09:19

Courtney-Lee Collins

Law student Courtney-Lee Collins has been recognised for her voluntary work

A Law student at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) will receive a medal from the Queen as a reward for her tireless voluntary work..

Third-year student Courtney-Lee Collins, 21, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (Civil Division) for several years of voluntary and charitable contributions to a variety of groups and organisations.

Courtney-Lee has raised substantial amounts of money for charities including Follow Your Dreams, Essex Air Ambulance, The Salvation Army, Clic Sargent, Abbie’s Army, Treetops School and Endometriosis UK.

She has donated than three and a half tonnes of food to the Thurrock food bank, and donated hundreds of items to local hospitals, care homes and charities. She regularly helps organise charity events such as coffee mornings and has taken part in sponsored challenges including walks, fun runs and danceathons. 

As well as being an Ambassador for Follow Your Dreams, a charity for children and young people with special needs and learning difficulties, Courtney-Lee is also a regular donor to women’s refuge charity Changing Pathways.

Last year she started her own campaign called 7 Heroes in 7 Days, taking a selection of treats to organisations such as local emergency services.

Courtney-Lee said:

“I have been fundraising and volunteering with my family from a young age. It started from helping to set up tables at charity nights, and eventually I started organising events myself.

“The cause that has had the biggest impact on my life personally is helping people with special needs and learning difficulties. My younger sister is severely autistic and completely non-verbal and is the sunshine in my life. I have never met a happier person and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have someone I am so close to and can learn so much from.”


Due to the global pandemic Courtney-Lee, who lives in Aveley, has not yet been able to receive her medal but said:


“I am very excited for the day I can hold it in my hands and actually have it with me. It is a huge honour to be recognised in this way. I don’t do what I do for the recognition, but I am so proud.”


  • Meanwhile, ARU Honorary Fellow Norah Al-Ani has been recognised in the Queen's New Year's Honours List for her work with Cambridge Rape Crisis. Former student Judith Martha Tsitsi Machiwenyika, who studied Nursing and an MSc Advanced Practice while at ARU, was also awarded an MBE for services to nursing and BAME equality.