THE leader of a business support network was "wowed" when she discovered she had been made an Officer of the British Empiry.

Miranda Barker, chief executive of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, has been granted the prestigious award for her services to business and to the community in Lancashire in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.

Miranda has always been involved with the local business community, having worked in East Lancashire since 2017 and before that in Wigan running its Chamber of Commerce.

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Speaking about when she was told about her award, she said: “I just thought – I don’t know how to take that.

“I am really chuffed and really blown away. I don’t quite know how to take it.

“I am somewhere between delighted and very bashful.”

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The Chamber of Commerce works to offer advice to businesses around East Lancashire, and Miranda said during the pandemic this was even more important than ever.

She recalled how during the first lockdown; she would regularly spend hours during the evenings at home talking with concerned business owners about the help they could receive to keep them afloat.

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Miranda believes the area is the country’s "best kept secret" and always boasts about the huge number of national manufacturing business that are based in East Lancashire including BAE, Rolls Royce, Bensons for Beds, Safran and Crown Paints.

She added: “It is also because of the fact we have got great businesses that deserve to be supported.

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“With what we have done, we have enabled them to keep going.

“We work so closely with businesses to make sure they get all the support and recognition we receive.

“It is thanks to the amazing business community here and I hope this award drives attention to them and all the staff who work at the chamber.”