A longstanding champion of the Jewish Community in the UK has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Leonie Lewis, who is director of the Jewish Volunteering Network, has been recognised for her “indomitable energy” over the past 30 years in representing the community in several ways.

An active member of Pinner Synagogue, she has acted as a key representative at inter-faith meetings and has been a driving force in advancing the role of women.

She said: “Receiving the MBE [for services to the Jewish community] means the world to me.

“It justifies all the hours and commitment I've spent at meetings and activities encouraging all who know me to engage and or volunteer with their community. I still have a few friends left!

“The nicest thing is receiving such wonderful messages, letters and calls from so many people. It’s very touching to know that in some small way I really am making a difference.”

Leonie regularly volunteers at Harrow Mencap and holds a number of advisory roles at a variety of organisations and charities.

After becoming co-chair of United Synagogue (US) Women, she was instrumental in driving changes to the statutes and bye-laws, which resulted in women being able to become chairs of US synagogues.

After becoming the first of four female trustees of the US itself, she became joint vice president, a role she still holds.

Michael Goldstein, president of the US, said: “We are delighted that Leonie has received this honour.

“As vice-president of the United Synagogue, her contribution to our community continues to be enormous.

“The huge impact of her years of work will be felt by countless people both now and in the future.”