A MOTHER-of-eight who has devoted the last 31 years of her life to the Royal British Legion was made an honorary Free-man of the Borough at a special ceremony at Accrington Town Hall.
Doris Cassidy, 75, of Woodside Road, Huncoat, started working for the town branch of the Legion in 1971 with her husband Jim, a former president of the Accrington branch, who died in 1992.
She ran it virtually single-handed for two years until her retirement in 2002.
Mrs Cassidy, who has 56 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren, was a member of the Women's Royal Army Corps from 1940 to 1946.
She is well-known across Hyndburn for her work with Army Cadets and her contributions to the Poppy Appeal and Accrington's annual remembrance parade.
Cadets from the various armed forces stood on guard as she entered the Town Hall for the Freedom of the Borough ceremony and she was led into the building by her son-in-law, Trevor Stokes, who was playing the bagpipes.
Trevor is a Major with the Accrington Pipe Band.
Council leader Peter Britcliffe paid tribute to her tremendous work. He added: "Doris has been a shining light for many years.
"She is a truly respected member of the community. Her work has been unfailing. Even though in recent years her health has been failing, she has carried on."
Leader of the Labour party, Councillor Jean Battle, added: "I have seen the excellent work she does for the Royal British Legion and other organisations.
"I think she is a wonderful example of a person who has given up her time for the community. Doris is an example to us all. I believe that the Freedom of the Borough could not have gone to a better person."
Mrs Cassidy remained modest about her achievements as she thanked her friends and family for attending the ceremony.
She added: "It's so nice to see so many friends and family here tonight and I am proud and honoured that the borough has bestowed this on me.
"I never expected it or thought of it in a million years. All I can say is my heartfelt thanks. I don't really like being at the front of things, I like to stay in the background.''
The ceremony was followed by a buffet in the Town Hall ballroom and a party for Doris' family and friends at the Brooks Club, Accrington.