A community stalwart had a date with royalty when she travelled to Buckingham Palace to collect her MBE.
Dorothy Clark, 86, was named in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list in recognition of dedicating more than 40 years to the community in Greatham village.
Dorothy chatted to Prince Charles, who presented her with her award, about her work with Greatham in Bloom and Greatham Community Association which runs the community centre.
She said: “He asked where I had come from and I told him Greatham village attached to Hartlepool near Durham and he said ‘I know where you are’.
“Then he asked what I had done and I told him 46 years for Greatham Community Association and 33 years for Greatham in Bloom for which we had won gold medals.
“I told him this year we are hoping to sweep the board and he said ‘the very best luck to you’ and ‘you must keep going’.
I’m proud to bring the MBE home in recognition for all the people in the village that help to make it the place that it isDorothy Clark MBE
“He couldn’t have been nicer.”
Dorothy was joined for the memorable occasion by her son Peter Clark, his wife Tracy, grandchildren Rebecca, 25, and Joseph, 29, and close friend Brian Walker.
But she had to leave them on entering the palace and join the 98 other people who were also being presented with their awards that day.
Dorothy, who at first thought someone was playing a joke on her when she was informed about her MBE, added: “We were all nervous and apprehensive but everybody spoke to each other and it was really nice.
“I met some lovely people.”
Greatham Community Centre provides a number of activities for all ages and live entertainment.
Dorothy is also chair of Greatham in Bloom which spearheads the village’s entry in the Northumbria in Bloom competition, which is part of the Royal Horticultural Association’s Britain in Bloom campaign.
The village has won a gold medal for the last two years for its display of flowers and community input.
And she has every intention of following Prince Charles’s advice to keep going.
“It’s my life, I can’t stop,” said Dorothy.
She added: “I’m proud to bring the MBE home in recognition for all the people in the village that help to make it the place that it is.”