Published: 17:00, 03 December 2017
A Kent mum has spoken of the moment she picked up her MBE from Prince William at Buckingham Palace.
Sue Clark, 61, of Collingwood Road, St Margaret’s, was awarded the title because of her services to children with disabilities.
She told the royal how she is inspired by her son, Jamie, who has Down’s syndrome, adding that the day he was born was the best day of her life.
Less than 24 hours after the presentation, she travelled to Rome in a celebratory trip organised by her husband, Tom.
“It was the perfect week,” she said.
The mum-of-three to Kimberley, 32, Scott, 30 and Jamie, 26, became involved with Pegasus Playscheme – a three-week summer activity programme for youngsters aged eight to 25 with disabilities – when Jamie was five.
In 2003, when the entire committee resigned, she stepped in as a fundraiser and a year later was made chairman.
It involves raising £70,000 a year as well as planning and hiring to ensure a group of 40 youngsters, accompanied by 40 teenage volunteers, 12 staff members and four bus drivers, have a summer to remember.
Having been listed in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June, she attended Buckingham Palace with her family on Tuesday, November 21.
She was one of 92 people receiving awards that day including actress Sarah Lancashire and motorcyclist champion Jonathan Rea.
She said: “It was very nerve-racking but lovely to be able to get dressed up to go somewhere.
“When I walked out, they [her family] were sat on the front row right next to the prince.
“Jamie gave me a thumbs up which made me emotional but it was lovely to see them all there and it did take away my nerves.”
As she stepped forward to receive her MBE - one of the highest orders in Britain –the prince, formally known at the Duke of Cambridge, took her hand. They exchanged conversation for around five minutes.
She said: “He asked about Pegasus. He said to raise all those thousands you must have climbed a lot of mountains.
“I said I don’t climb mountains, I leave it to them and pointed to them all.
“I said that Jamie is my inspiration and that the day he was born was the best day of our lives. He said he could understand why.
“I also said that it was a committee effort and he said that is was excellent and that we must carry on.
“I don’t remember him pinning my broach on because it was such a whirlwind.
“He was lovely, very down to earth, natural and genuinely interested.”
She described the room decorated in red and gold as beautiful with a live orchestra playing.
She said: “It was a very special day especially as I was able to have my children there because I wouldn’t have been able to do Pegasus without the full support of them.
“It made us very proud and to the people who nominated me – I don’t know who they are – I’d like to thank them for the trouble they went to. It was all worth it for us.”
Mrs Clark hopes the award will help raise awareness for Pegasus and people with disabilities.
She is now focusing her attention on fundraising for the 32nd year of the playscheme.
A Christmas lights switch on in aid of Pegasus will take place at 5pm in Collingwood Road, St Margaret’s, tonight.
The display has been created by Angela and Chris Andrew. Food and drink will be available in exchange for donations.
To donate email email@example.com
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