A HEATON Woman has been commended with a British Empire Medal.

Ruxmani Patel, who works at Shree Krishna Temple, in Beverley Road was awarded the medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren Smith.

At the ceremony in Wigan Town Hall, Mrs Patel was described as an "outstanding and driven individual who has dedicated most of her life to volunteering and helping others."

She has volunteered at the temple for more than 30 years and is the first woman to become president.

However she also helps out by running Gujarati classes for children and managing the temple kitchen, where food is cooked for up to 600 people 40 times a year.

Mrs Patel described the moment she found out she was getting the award as "out of the blue."

She said: "I got a call out of the blue and I was really excited.

"I'm really really pleased with it."

Over the years Mrs Patel has volunteered for numerous organisations and causes in the area, and regularly visits hospice patients.

Upon presenting the award to Mrs Patel on October 31, the Lord Lieutenant Mr Smith said: "I am particularly privileged to represent Her Majesty The Queen, presenting on her behalf the British Empire Medal.

"The Medal recipients are true representatives of those who dedicate themselves to the communities within which they live.

"I have had the privilege to meet many volunteers and voluntary organisations and I continue to be humbled as I see the contribution and sacrifices some people are prepared to make."