Last week I was awarded an MBE for services to children and young people in London. As an Irish person, I am technically a non-National so I never imagined receiving an MBE. In fact, when the letter stamped by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) popped through the door, I was convinced that after 30 years they had decided to throw me out. Non-nationals have their awards listed on an Honours roll in the FCO; I just hope I am on the same list as Sir Bob and that it is printed in the Cork Evening Echo. My parents will be chuffed!
I have been more touched by the responses from people. Naturally, I told my family first. Husband very happy. Son number one said from China where he lives with his sister “Ma, you are becoming part of the establishment – next you will be a member of the Bullingdon Club.” Daughter echoed his worries about the establishment, but did the lovely daughter thing which is, “of course Mum, we will be happy whatever – but you will have to wear a hat!” Son number two arrived with a bottle of wine and a packet of Figrolls! Worth it…
I next told colleagues at LEYF. The response from staff was truly humbling. I loved the kindness, delight and tone of the comments. My Curly Wurlys have been replenished and my spirits soared. Then reality hit, however. A load of folders arrived for internal verification, and my husband was struck down by acute appendicitis. Sitting in A&E at Kingston Hospital all night, the MBE seemed a long way off!
But thank you to everyone for twittering and texting and sending cards. I truly appreciate all your kind words.