I’m so humbled and grateful to share with you the amazing news that I’ve been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List – the first honours to be awarded during the reign of King Charles III.
It was a few weeks ago when the news came through – and I almost thought it was a joke. Yet it’s real and it’s official and I want to thank my wonderful husband Matt for nominating me for this absolute honour and for the work he did to put my name forward.
It’s truly humbling to be considered alongside the amazing people up and down the UK who seek to make positive change in a multitude of ways.
What is an MBE?
In case you didn’t know MBE stands for Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – and it’s the third highest ranking honour of the Order behind the OBE and the CBE. There are also other awards – KBE or DBE (Knight or Dame) and those who receive those honours can use the titles ‘Sir’ or ‘Dame’ before their name if they wish.
The MBE is awarded for ‘outstanding achievement or service to the community which has had a long-term significant impact’.
I feel humbled that, that small sentence applies to me – and there’s so much more for me to do!
These awards were first introduced in 1917 by George V to reward service personnel for their services to the war effort even if they were not on the frontline. Now the awards are open to civilians as well as members of the armed forces.
I’ve received the honour for the work I’ve done to educate others about the risks, dangers and realities of living with allergies and anaphylaxis, for my contribution to the world of business and for encouraging others to export.
I also seek to empower those who live with allergies and anaphylaxis to live their best lives. In a few months’ time, I’ll be invited to collect my MBE from a member of the Royal Family – and I’m still in shock about that.
Allergies are rising globally, particularly allergies to food and particularly among children. Living with allergies in our society is not easy. People like me can feel isolated, excluded and humiliated when we need to ensure that what we eat, or drink is safe for us – and that can include what others eat or drink around us. It’s for these reasons that I’m an ambassador for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and for MedicAlert as I see education as a key factor in mitigating the risks people like me face on a daily basis.
It was this personal passion for living well with allergies which led to me founding my company Creative Nature which specialises in snacks, baking mixes and superfoods which are all free of the top 14 allergens. Now in its 11th year, Creative Nature sells products online and through retailers across the UK and overseas.
I also give talks about allergies and my experiences across the UK and the world, and I will continue to do so. I’m not done yet. I intend to continue to speak out for people like me so that those who live with allergies do not continue to go under the radar!