A RAIL officer who has inspired countless projects along the Mid Cheshire Line and beyond has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Sally Buttifant, who recently stepped down as Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership officer – a role she has held for almost 10 years – has been recognised for her services to the railway and community.

Sally’ legacy includes bringing together projects such as Marvellous Days Out, securing promises for extra services on the Mid Cheshire Line, and working with the Samaritans to boost support for railway incidents.

Sally, who is 54 and lives in Ellesmere Port with husband Phil, was informed of the honour by post.

She said: “It’s really exciting – I was absolutely shocked and stunned to get the letter, but really delighted.

“I have had a fantastic nine-and-a-half years in community rail, and I’ve loved every minute of it.

“You get the opportunity to make such a difference and take forward the most fantastic projects, all while working with the most brilliant people. I’m very proud to have been a part of it.”

Sally’s officer work focused on connecting communities through the rail network, with highlights including bringing the touching ‘Over by Christmas’ performances to stations across the north west, and inspiring a group of young people with no qualifications to find employment.

She has also worked tirelessly with volunteers – many of whom have seen the transformative effect of giving their time to community rail – and helped to boost tourism at destinations in mid Cheshire, from Arley Hall to Knutsford Heritage Centre.

Nationwide, she was an Association of Community Rail Partnership board member and set up Women in Community Rail.

John Oates, MCCRP chairman, said: “This recognises the immense contribution Sally has made to our railways in Cheshire, to the communities alongside the line and her work with other local organisations in Cheshire including the Samaritans.

“When Sally was rail officer, not only did she work tirelessly for the Mid Cheshire Line but also made a huge contribution to other railway lines in Cheshire.

“Nationwide, Sally was a board member of Association of Community Rail Partnership and was instrumental in setting up Women in Community Rail.

“Sally’s achievements on the Mid Cheshire Line include many projects with our lineside partners which led to the Community Rail Partnership being named the best CRP in the country in 2015.

“Sally has made a real difference to our railways in Cheshire and this honour is truly deserved.”

Sally will be invited to receive her honour at a ceremony in London.