IN a room in Windsor Castle, watched by the heroes of years past, a modern-day hero was officially made a Member of the British Empire.
Joan Eddings, 91, has dedicated the past 30 years to helping others, either through bereavement counselling, or through the Lunch Club at Portsmouth Cathedral.
She was named as a recipient of the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June, but only recently went to collect the award.
Mrs Eddings said: ‘What a great day! It was lovely.
‘The presentation itself was in the Waterloo Room, surrounded by portraits of the people who fought in the Battle of Waterloo.
‘It was presented by Princess Anne, who was very charming indeed, and she asked me what I did in my spare time.’
Mrs Eddings was accompanied to the castle by her daughter, Nicole Pendleton, and two of her friends, Rosamund Watson and Muriel Cole.
‘It was Muriel, actually, who got the ball rolling and asked people in the Lunch Club to write letters about me,’ Mrs Eddings added.
Mrs Eddings, of St Thomas’ Street, Old Portsmouth, set the Lunch Club up three decades ago.
She 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.’
And 30 years ago Mrs Eddings was also one of the first people to be trained 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 used to be a doctor’s wife, and their whole ethos is about caring.
‘I think that’s why I do what I do.’
Also on the list were Cdre John Keegan, made an OBE for 35 years of dedicated service; Lieutenant Commander Geoff Hayward, 45, and Lieutenant Commander Adam Thomas, 33, who were both made an MBE.
Author Kate Mosse, who lives in Chichester, was made a CBE for services to literature.
Other honours recipients included retired University of Portsmouth vice-chancellor John Craven, school buildings leader Graham Olway of Widley, and Ministry of Defence policeman Peter Jones of Southsea.