A VOLUNTEER has been presented with an MBE from Prince Charles - handed out in recognition of her service to the local community.
Beryl Clark was a founding member of the Penwortham and Longton Support Group, one of several groups set up in 1981 to carry out fundraising in the local area to help bring the dream of St Catherine’s Hospice to life.
She served as secretary on the group’s committee for 25 years before it disbanded in 2006 – having raised an incredible £210,000 to help set up and maintain the hospice over the years.
Now her contributions to both the hospice and Lancashire Constabulary – where she serves as a Police Community Support Volunteer – have been recognised with an MBE, which she received from HRH Prince Charles in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Beryl said: “I feel very privileged to have been chosen to receive this award. It’s particularly nice that it’s a joint acknowledgement from both organisations. However, I am only one person out of so many who could have been given this – I am representative of many other volunteers and supporters who do such important work. St Catherine’s provides an invaluable service – I feel very proud to be a small part of it.”
She said the day at Buckingham Palace had been ‘absolutely amazing’.
“It’s quite unbelievable,” she said. “You wonder what you’re doing there or if it’s really a dream. I met lots of other people who were there receiving awards and I was struck by how ‘ordinary’ they were, for want of a better word. They were regular, down to earth people who were being recognised for the work they’d done in their own communities and it was very interesting hearing their stories and experiences.”
Beryl, a retired further education lecturer from Hutton, said Prince Charles asked about her work with St Catherine’s before presenting her with the award.
“He said he wondered how we fitted it all in - I just said ‘there’s 24 hours in every day’ and he laughed.”
After the ceremony, which welcomed around 80 people receiving awards plus their guests and included music from the Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra, Beryl and her friends celebrated with lunch at Claridge’s.
“We had such a lovely, memorable day,” she said. “It really was a once in a life-time experience and I’d like to thank all those who supported my nomination for the award.”