A 99-year-old, who became a Girl Guide in 1927 and has continued to serve the movement ever since, has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours List.

Margaret Rigby was recognised for services to the Guides in Lancashire over a period of 86 years.

She is believed to have the longest continuous service in guiding in the UK.

After being a guide and a ranger in the 1920s and 30s she continued her service after the war and at various times was secretary and leader of various guiding groups, all in the Chorley area.

She continues her service as a member of the Trefoil Guild, an adult group which gives practical, financial and moral support to the guiding and scouting movement.

Mrs Rigby will be awarded her medal in June at a garden party at Buckingham Palace, shortly after her 100th birthday on June 1.

She said: “I received a letter in November and th- ought it must have been a mistake.

“It’s very flattering to be thought of in such high regard by the people in Lancashire Guiding who nom- inated me.

“The movement has been my passion and it continues to bring me joy that girls and young women get so much out of the activities.

“I have made lifelong friends. For instance I met a girl called Helen Sutch, from Kent, at a camp in Eastbourne in 1931.

“We became friends and wrote to each other weekly for more than 70 years until her death in 2002.”

Mrs Rigby, of Devonshire Court, Chorley, was widowed in 1992 when husband Thomas died after 50 years of marriage, they had no children.

Mrs Rigby said her commitment to guiding even extended to helping the war effort between 1939 and 1945. She said: “The guides were very strong and committed during the war. We had to meet on a Saturday afternoon as there was a blackout in the evenings.”

She added: “We helped by collecting newspapers and jam jars which the Army were appealing for.”