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New Year honour for Greenwich student

TLDRoffon

A charity campaigning student from the University of Greenwich has been named in the New Year Honours list.

Hannah PhillipsHannah Phillips, who is is in the final year of a BA Early Years degree, will receive the British Empire Medal for her services to charity. The 24-year-old from Lewisham is an ambassador to two charities: Evelina London Children's Hospital and Rays of Sunshine.

She says: "Keeping this a secret was hard, they don't say who nominates you so I don't even know who to thank. I get to go to one of the Buckingham Palace garden parties in the summer so I'm really looking forward to that!"

Hannah gives a lot of her time to causes which are important to her. One area is helping people in the transition period from child to adult care when they are in hospital. She speaks to Trusts across the country on this issue, as it is something she has experienced. 

"At 16 people are moved to an adult ward," adds Hannah. "So they go from access to play and music to four walls with people three times their age. It's hard."

At Christmas Hannah took books to children in Evalina which contained 20 stories from children at the Young Explorers Club in Lee. 

Hannah has a rare heart condition, complicated Ebstein anomaly. She was born three months premature, with a hole in her heart. This was not treated until she developed meningitis at six months and had open heart surgery. Hannah had seven more operations before having a pacemaker fitted at 16. 

In her final year at Greenwich, Hannah is going into "dissertation season", as she puts it, aiming to raise £20k for charity.

Events include a London to Paris cycle ride, five 19km runs, and entering the WellChild choir competition. This will feature children from the before and after school clubs Hannah works at in the Young Explorers Club.

"The bike ride especially will be hard," Hannah adds. "My pacemaker won't go over 150bpm so that will be limiting. But it's so important to do this. A lot of my work is with kids because, as well as me loving doing it, I want children to learn it is important to give back."