A CHARITY founder who has dedicated her life to animal welfare “burst into tears” when she found out she was being recognised by HM The Queen.

Lesley Winton has received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to animal welfare in the New Year Honours List.

The Tranent resident set up the Winton Foundation for the Welfare of Bears, which has supported dozens of organisations in nearly 20 countries around the world to rescue bears.

Lesley, 57, also set up Fostering Compassion, which works with vulnerable children and animals.

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The Ormiston-based charity seeks to end animal cruelty and help children to learn to empathise with animals through days out, activities and workshops resulting in improved behaviour, and increased confidence and self-value.

She said: “From as far back as I can remember, from the earliest days of watching Lassie movies, I have had a massive passion for animals and hated any form of animal cruelty.

“I always knew that doing something in the field of animal welfare was the most important thing for me.”

Meanwhile, Johnny Timpson, of North Berwick, received an OBE for voluntary services to people with disabilities and to the financial sector, while Dunbar's James Sinclair was awarded an MBE for services to charity.