Former Mayoress of Todmorden, Gig Nilavongse, Honoured with British Empire Medal
Todmorden, 30th December 2023 — We are thrilled to announce that Matthanee Nilavongse, better known as Gig, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the King’s New Year Honours list for her exceptional services to the Todmorden community.
Gig, who served as Mayoress alongside Cllr Ken White during the 2019-20 Mayoral year, has been a pivotal force in Todmorden since the opening of her first business here in 2010. The BEM specifically acknowledges her outstanding “hands-on” contributions to the local community.
Known for running the internationally renowned Golden Lion, Gig’s dedication goes beyond the pub. From organising free Christmas day lunches for hundreds to serving as an Incredible Edible committee member, she tirelessly supports and creates various community initiatives.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gig transformed the Golden Lion into a food store and hub, creating income-generating initiatives to support her staff during the pub’s closure. Additionally, she worked as a translator, providing support to Thai speakers navigating challenging times within the courts and health systems throughout the lockdown.
As Mayoress, Gig brought a unique energy and style to the role, working diligently alongside the Mayor to champion local causes and fundraise for the Mayor’s Charity. In 2019 she hosted the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire on his memorable tour of Todmorden.
For many local people it’s Gig’s actions during the town’s flood events that they will remember. In 2015 when her own premises were hit badly and in February 2020, where she played a key role in the flood hub at Todmorden Town Hall, that remain a testament to her commitment to the community.
Many congratulations Gig on this well-deserved honour.