A WIGAN councillor thought she was being reprimanded for taking photos in Buckingham Palace when really she had received an MBE!
Pam Stewart, a Labour member for Atherleigh, received a letter marked On Her Majesty’s Service and immediately thought it was because she got into trouble for taking some photographs at the Queen’s garden party last year.
Pam, who attended the party at the palace with her daughter Catherine, admitted she took a photo inside the palace but was told it was forbidden by a member of staff.
So when a piece of official-looking correspondence arrived a few weeks ago her first reaction was to worry it may be because of the photographs.
But she needn’t have worried: it was a letter from the Cabinet Office informing her that she had been successfully nominated for a Queen’s birthday honour and would she like to accept it.
Coun Stewart, who lives in Leigh, said: “We were panicking at first, but I got quite emotional when I saw what it was.
“I received it six weeks ago, but I was sworn to secrecy so couldn’t even tell Catherine, or my son Graham, even though he got married in the meantime, which was really difficult.”
She will now head to Clarence House to be presented with her award by Prince Charles later in the year. Coun Stewart received her MBE for 27 years of service to the community of Wigan.
She has served on the PTA at St Paul’s Primary and Westleigh High School. She has also chaired a host of community projects, including the Westleigh Community Partnership, the Borough Wide Community Network and the Urban Forum, all of which have helped to bring together communities across the borough as well as helping to secure funding for community improvement projects.
She is joint-chair of Leigh Township Forum, a director of WAVE domestic violence centre, trustee of Douglas Valley Community Partnership and honorary member of Encompass, the strategic body for the community networks partnership for Wigan.
Coun Stewart added: “I am really touched that somebody has taken the time to nominate me. A lot of people have been kind and told me how hard I have worked, but you don’t do it for an MBE, you do it for the people in the community and I am very proud to receive the MBE.”