Joan’s pies get her on the honours list

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In the past 30 years, caring Joan Eddings has served up hundreds of cottage pies.

Three decades ago, Mrs Eddings started the Lunch Club, held at Portsmouth Cathedral, where she is part of the congregation.

14/6/13     PM''Joan Eddings 91 who was named in the Queens honors, pictured at the Cathedral in Old Portsmouth''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (131669-3)

14/6/13 PM''Joan Eddings 91 who was named in the Queens honors, pictured at the Cathedral in Old Portsmouth''Picture: Paul Jacobs (131669-3)

And it’s her dedicated work there, along with services to bereavement help, that she is being honoured for.

The 91-year-old has been made Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in the Queen’s birthday’s honours list, which has been released today.

Mrs Eddings, of St Thomas’s Street, Old Portsmouth, said: ‘We asked members of the cathedral what they would like to see, and one of the ideas that came up was a lunch club.

‘I helped to set it up. There are four cooks that each has their own team.

‘Then each Tuesday one group will cook.

‘I’ve cooked food over the years, with my speciality being cottage pie.’

The grandmother-of-11 and great-grandmother-of-four said the club gives elderly people and cathedral members a chance to socialise.

She said: ‘People do like to get out and about and have a chat,

‘The ladies always dress up and put their pearls on to come along.’

The dean of Portsmouth Cathedral said he is ‘delighted’ with the news.

Reverend David Brindley said: ‘The cathedral is delighted that Joan’s dedication to the Lunch Club has been recognised.

‘This year it celebrates 30 years of providing food and companionship to more than 50 people each week.’

And 30 years ago Mrs Eddings was also one of the first people to be trained up for a bereavement service in Portsmouth.

Called Help in Bereavement, the service helps those in the Portsmouth area, dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Mrs Eddings added: ‘I feel very honoured to have this.

‘I used to be a doctor’s wife, and their whole ethos is about caring.

‘I think that’s why I do what I do.’

A host of navy officers from Hampshire have also been honoured in today’s list.

A retired Royal Navy Commodore has been recognised for 35 years dedicated service with an Order of the British Empire.

Cdre John Keegan, former Commodore Maritime Reserves, was based at Royal Navy Headquarters in Whale Island, Portsmouth.

The 54-year-old retired earlier this year.

He has been awarded the OBE for his ‘diverse’ and ‘selfless’ career in the navy.

Portsmouth-based Lieutenant Commander Geoff Hayward, 45, has been awarded the Member of the British Empire.

The former commanding officer of 857 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) was based at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose between 2010 and 2012.

He is now based at HMS Collingwood, in Fareham.

During his time at 857 NAS he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and 2012, conducting surveillance operations.

He also led the squadron in a more traditional maritime environment in the 2011 NATO Libya Campaign.

Lieutenant Commander Adam Thomas, 33, has been awarded an MBE for his role in looking after naval manpower last year.

Lt Cdr Thomas has now taken up a new role and works in Navy Air Engineering Training Policy at navy HQ in Portsmouth.

But last year he ensured the navy had enough people in place to deal with day-to-day operations and meet the requirements for high profile events as they arose.

That included the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, national industrial unrest, as well as the London 2012 Olympic Games.

For his ‘determination and hard work’ as well as the ‘establishment of new processes’ to help the navy, he has been awarded an MBE.

And author Kate Mosse, who lives in Chichester, was made a CBE for services to literature.

Other honours recipients included Portsmouth University vice-chancellor John Craven, school buildings leader Graham Olway of Widley, and MoD policeman Peter Jones of Southsea.