The mother of murdered toddler James Bulger has been given an award for her work with a charity she founded in his memory.
Denise Fergus launched The James Bulger Memorial Trust to support victims of crime, hatred or bullying in 2011 – the year her son would have turned 21.
Ms Fergus, of Kirkby, was given the British Citizen Award for her services to the community.
“I feel honoured and overwhelmed” at this “complete surprise”, she said.
Ms Fergus said she started the charity because she “didn’t want James to be remembered as the child that was murdered” and she “absolutely loves” being able to help children and their families.
Two-year-old James was abducted at the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle and beaten to death on 12 February 1993.
John Venables and Robert Thompson, who were both 10 at the time, were arrested days later.
They became the youngest to be charged with murder in the 20th Century and were jailed.
The awards take place bianually and were launched in January 2015 to recognise “exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society”.
Ms Fergus said it had “been a lot of hard work at times” but she had “got a great deal of satisfaction from being able to help children and their families” and it had “become a real family project” with her three sons involved too.
Her husband, Stuart Fergus who nominated her, said she “deserves the award for her bravery in fighting for justice, not only for her son, but also for other people.”