Hi Penny, how can I refuse? After all if it wasn’t for your recommendation in 2016 for the “Supporting Elders” category of Cornwall Celebrates Volunteering, the snowball wouldn’t have kept growing.

I was excited and honoured to be short-listed to 3 and pleased to accept the award.  Then when all categories had been concluded at the presentation, leaving only the supreme title of “Volunteer of the Year”, I was looking around the room trying to guess which candidate was most worthy.  You will recall I’m sure, the utter amazement and disbelief on my face when Daphne Skinnard read out my name, and my slow uncertain walk to the Queen’s representative, Edward Bolitho for the second time within ½ hour.  Four years before I had been similarly surprised following an invitation to a special service at St.Mary’s Church, and announced as Callington Citizen of the Year, with a framed certificate.

But even these 3 awards did not prepare me for the shock I got from the postman on November 18th , when he delivered a large envelope emblazoned with “ On Her Majesty’s Service”, “CABINET OFFICE” and “URGENT PERSONAL”.  I still had no idea until I opened and read, and re-read, IN CONFIDENCE ----------------------I am, Sir your obedient servant---.

So for about 6 weeks, until the New Year’s Honours List was printed and circulated, not even my sons or daughter had an inkling. Now I’m preparing for a call from the Lord Lieutenant’s Office regarding presentation of a BEM, followed by a Garden Party at the Palace in May, when my daughter will stand proudly by my side.