THE family of late Ellesmere Port fundraiser Billy Birch have accepted a national award in honour of his tireless fundraising.

Billy died surrounded by his family, including children Mally, Neil, Stephen and Cheryl, at the Countess of Chester Hospital on December 10 last year at the age of 76.

He had raised more than £113,000 in the 26 years since losing his beloved wife Sylvia to cancer in 1991.

An anonymous resident had nominated Billy for a British Citizen Award and this was then seconded by Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders.

A well-known face in his community, Billy dedicated his fundraising to the memory of his beloved late wife, Sylvia.

His campaigning to raise money to purchase equipment needed by local voluntary organisations saw him relentlessly dedicating his time and energy to making a real difference.

Funds he raised benefitted various groups, but the biggest beneficiary was undoubtedly The Countess of Chester Hospital.

Every time an organisation tried the thank Billy, he in turn would thank the people of Ellesmere Port ‘for their hearts of gold’.

Billy’s British Citizen Award Medal and Certificate of Honour was presented to Mally, Neil, and Cheryl in London on Thursday, July 5.

The medal will be displayed at Ellesmere Port Library for the entire community to share.

Mally said: “If my dad’s actions inspire just one person to follow in his footsteps, that would be a fantastic legacy.

“We are all so proud of his achievements and the good that he did. It is sad he couldn’t be here to receive the medal, but it’s encouraging he knew about it before he passed away”.

The British Citizen Awards (BCAs) were launched in January 2015, to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society.

BCAs are awarded twice annually and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.

A total of 29 Medals were presented at the prestigious ceremony held in the Palace of Westminster.

All BCA recipients have selflessly undertaken various activities in support of a number of worthy causes. Each received a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’.

British Citizen Award Patron, Dame Mary Perkins said: “Giving back to our communities is at the heart of Specsavers' vision and values, so we are delighted to support this inspirational awards programme.

“Each medal recipient has demonstrated a commitment to others that makes them the unsung heroes of our country and they thoroughly deserve to have a light shone on their selfless endeavours.”