Tyne & Wear

Charity fundraiser Katie Cutler in Queen's Birthday Honours

Alan Barnes and Katie Cutler Image copyright PA
Image caption Alan Barnes has spoken of his delight at Katie Cutler's British Empire Medal

The woman whose internet appeal raised £300,000 for a mugged disabled pensioner has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Katie Cutler, 22, of Gateshead, has received a British Empire Medal following the appeal in aid of Alan Barnes.

Mr Barnes, 67, also of Gateshead, was mugged outside his home in January. Donations came from across the world.

Ms Cutler has since founded her own charitable foundation.

Among those she has gone on to help are Kacie Martin, a two-year-old girl who has spinal muscular atrophy.

'Cried for days'

Ms Cutler, a beautician, said: "It was horrible, what happened to Alan.

"I think it touched and affected everyone and I just wanted to help him. But receiving an award is surreal, I cried for three days when I found out.

"Since I started fundraising for Alan I've been contacted by individuals asking for help and businesses wanting to offer support, so I started the Katie Cutler Foundation as a way to continue the charity work.

"I've had to cut back on my business and it's been harder financially, but it's worth it for all the opportunities I've had and people I've met and been able to help.

"A lot of people have said to me I'm a role model. I've never been good at taking compliments but I think I've started to sort of accept it now."

Mr Barnes, whose disabilities were caused when his mother contracted German measles during pregnancy, said: "It's more than an award, it's an honour and something to live up to once all the publicity dies down.

"But I'm sure (Katie) will be able to manage and I'm happy for her."

Others in the North East recognised in the honours list include former Sunderland goalkeeper Jim Montgomery, who also received a British Empire Medal for services to football.

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