Walker Ida has Buckingham Palace date after BEM honour

IDA Ashworth did not have to travel far to collect her British Empire Medal.

Ida, her husband John and family attended the Royton Suite at Oldham Civic Centre to receive her honour last month from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren J Smith.

But the 90-year-old founder of Oldham’s Wednesday Walkers also received an invitation to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Ida and John, from Royton, plus nephew Philip were visiting London as the Correspondent went to press.

“I was a very nice occasion,” she said of the BEM presentation. “Quite ceremonial but not too formal.

“There were four of us from Oldham receiving honours so that was probably why the ceremony took place at the Civic.

“As part of receiving the BEM, you also get the invitation to Buckingham Palace.

“So, we decided to go down and make a few days of it.

“As well as the garden party we have booked to go and see Fidler on the Roof (Playhouse Theatre) which we haven’t seen before.”

Ida’s name was put forward for the BEM by fellow Wednesday Walkers Sue Dibden and Margaret Lang.

Ida formed the group in 1986 following her retirement from Ferranti in Hollinwood.

“I kept looking out of my window thinking, ‘I should be out in the fresh air,’” she explained.

“I knew Oldham Community Centre had two walking groups but both were full-up and not taking any more members.

“So, I decided to start my own. Our first walk was round Dovestone reservoir with 10 people.
“Now we have 240 walkers in five groups of different grades and ages.”

The group came together last August to celebrate Ida’s 90th birthday at the Wine Press, Hollingworth Lake.

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