Rye Councillor Jo gets MBE

LONG serving Rye councillor Josephine Kirkham has been awarded an MBE for services to the community.

Jo, a former Thomas Peacocke teacher, Mayor and local magistrate, is still actively involved with Rye College and Rye Museum, campaigning for the restoration of the Women’s Tower, at the Ypres.

Jo Kirkham is the longest serving Rye councillor and was a councillor when the old Rye Borough.

As a former Mayor she welcomed the Queen Mother when she made a visit to Rye.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “For the last 40 years she has given outstanding service to her local community.

“She has excelled in a number of voluntary roles that have made a lasting impact on the town of Rye.

“She has been the Town Councillor since 1971 and was instrumental in organising the Rye Town Lottery to raise funds to help local organisations, for example, it funded the purchase of the playing field which is now leased to the Rugby Club.

“Rye Memorial Hospital has also benefitted enormously from her committed support. Her all round involvement in supporting the community of Rye and the impact she has made over the years has been exemplary.

“She founded the Rye and District Council for Voluntary Service (RDCVS) whilst she was Mayor 32 years ago. This organisation has created and sustained a large number of projects to support the community.”

One of RDCVS most personally challenging for Jo was the creation of Stepping Stones, a hostel for homeless 16-18 year olds which continues to provide a valuable service after 15 years. It is now run by Sanctuary Housing but Jo still remains on the organisation’s committee.

A well respected local historian, with an expansive knowledge of the town, Jo has preserved the thoughts and reflections of many past residents in her Rye Memories series of books, which include life in Rye during wartime.