Far more than just a Brighton beach socialite – Local legend Virginia Barnacle has received a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List – becoming the third member of her family to be recognised by the Queen.
Virginia Barnacle, is honoured for her services to the community for her continued voluntary work with Paddle Round The Pier Beach Festival, Brighton Surf Life Saving Club and Brighton Sailing club where she was the first ever female commodore.
Virginia also holds down a full time job as Industrial Placements Officer with the university of Brighton’s Business School.
More recently when her best friend died unexpectedly Virginia took in her friend’s three children until they could be found a permanent home.
Virginia follows in the footsteps of her father Edward Goodwill who was awarded the MBE in 1983 after serving 40 years in the Royal Navy, and her grandfather Montaque Renshaw who received the BEM in 1964 for services to the railway union ASLEF.
Virginia, said she burst into tears when she received the letter. She said of her BEM: “I’m totally humbled for being recognised for something I love doing so much and derive so much pleasure from.”
Paddle Director Dave Samuel said
“Virginia is a pillar of The Paddle Round The Pier and a great support to me alongside many other events and organisations we are both involved in, it was only right that she received this recognition for the her persistence in helping others for no other gain than knowing it is the right thing to do. She is an example to us all.”