Eleven-year-old twins who have raised £46,000 for charities are the youngest recipients in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in her Platinum Jubilee year.
Elena and Ruben Evans-Guillen, from Warrington, Cheshire, were just six when they took on their first fundraising challenge, of running 100km in a year to raise money for a garden at the town’s hospital, where their mother, Mercedes Guillen Dominguez, works.
Since then they have taken on trekking, kayaking and climbing for charity, and carried out 100 acts of kindness in the North West last year.
Their father, Mark Evans-Guillen, 47, said the family were “thrilled” to find out the children had been awarded a British Empire Medal for their services to charitable fundraising.
It's really been hard not to tell my friends
Elena told the PA news agency: “I felt like it was unreal.
“I’m really excited to be getting these awards from the Queen and I’m proud of my brother and myself that we have achieved this much.
“It’s really been hard not to tell my friends.”
Ruben said: “I felt really surprised.
“My favourite thing about the charity work we do is that we get to help the community and we help other people.”
Mr Evans-Guillen, an office worker, added: “It’s incredible, especially in the Platinum Jubilee year, when you think about what it means and what it represents.
“We’re so pleased and we’re just very keen to continue with what we do.”
He said the family first became involved with fundraising as a focus for the children, who both have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
“It has been life-changing and I don’t know what we would have done without it,” he said.
“It’s given us a focus and we’ve always had something exciting to get involved in. It’s bonded us as a family as well.
“If there are any young families who have a similar diagnosis and feel like it is going to be tough and overwhelming, I just hope they would look at Ruben and Elena and take any inspiration, encouragement or ideas from that that they can.”
The children’s latest challenge is already under way, to swim the length of the Channel in aid of the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust.
Mr Evans-Guillen said: “The kids have really put the hard yards in.
“For them, this is just about kids helping kids in its purest sense.”