A New Malden couple have both been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

Keith and Samantha Axbey have been recognised for their ongoing work with young people in the community.

The husband and wife duo have supported hundreds of young people to taste adventure and learn skills for life through Scouting and Guiding.

Keith began volunteering whilst a student in 1979. He has a passion for working with the Cub Scout section (8 – 10.5-year-olds), having run Cub Packs in Ealing, Wimbledon and New Malden.

He also took on the challenge of supporting other scout groups in the area and mentoring new volunteers to provide adventures for many hundreds of young people.

This year has been particularly challenging for scouting as it has faced unprecedented practical and financial challenges brought on by Covid-19.

Surrey Comet: Mr and Mrs AxbeMr and Mrs Axbe

Keith has mentored two teenage leaders to run scouting online, providing much-needed support to families in the area.

Samantha, who is a headteacher, has volunteered with guiding for 35 years supporting girls and young women of all ages.

Keith and Samantha said: "Volunteering has been a huge part of our lives and we’re very proud of the young people that we have helped to develop skills for life.

"These awards were totally unexpected, but are a very proud moment at the end of a tough year.

"We would recommend volunteering to everyone.

"It’s important to be able to help the next generation and we’ve also had fun along the way.

"We would like to dedicate our awards to all of the amazing people we have volunteered with over the last 35 years.”