Much-loved Aberdeen resident Marion Wilkins collects her Order of Australia Medal at Government House

THERE was no hiding the excitement on Marion Wilkins' face.

The much-loved Aberdeen resident collected her Order of Australia Medal (OAM), one of the highest honours available for civilians, at a special ceremony at Government House on Tuesday.

She originally found out about the accolade in January, via a certificate from Governor-General of Australia His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Redt), after being recognised for her service to the community through charitable organisations.

Ms Wilkins has been involved in many local groups, including Neighbourhood Watch, Aberdeen Ratepayers Association, Aberdeen Rural Fire Brigade, Aberdeen Community Caring (formerly Treasures) and Whisper Magazine, several of which she formed herself.

However, she is perhaps best known for her time at the Aberdeen-Rouchel Red Cross, where she received an Outstanding Service Award after spending almost 40 years with the institution.

"I'm so proud of her," said daughter Penelope Wilkins, who accompanied her mother to the esteemed function.

"It actually brought tears to my eyes.

"We had champagne on the terrace afterwards, which overlooked the harbour.

"It was a beautiful afternoon.

"She also met Ian Thorpe - she's a huge fan of his.

"Mum's always done a lot for the local community - and this was a terrific acknowledgement.

"I remember growing up in Aberdeen.

"If anyone needed anything, they were told to go see Marion.

"If someone was struggling, mum would help out as best she could.

"She collected pots, pans, sheets, towels; anything in good condition for Red Cross which, in turn, went towards their garage sales.

"Most of the time, our back shed was always full, as well as my old bedroom.

"People would also bring donations to the house for Red Cross.

"Mum constantly bugged me to go through my things and donate it to the organisation, too.

"I can still hear her saying 'got anything for the garage sale?'

"And, it was always followed with a laugh and the comment 'as I do like to shop'."

For her part, Ms Wilkins praised the generosity of the community throughout the years, giving special mention to those who even gave instructions to their family to donate all their possessions once they passed.