Northampton woman awarded MBE by Princess Royal at Windsor Castle for volunteer work

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In 2018, Joy's husband typed up her nomination to receive an MBE and, fast forward to 2022, he watched with pride as Princess Anne presented her with a medal at Windsor Castle

A Northampton woman enjoyed a royal visit to Windsor castle, where she was awarded with an MBE for more than 40 years of devoted charity work.

Joy Scott MBE, 60, from Abington, has volunteered for the UK charity, Mencap, for more than 41 years. She helps to run social clubs, events and activities for adults with learning disabilities at The Boughton Centre in Ransome Road.

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The Northampton branch of Mencap was where Joy met her now husband, Alan Scott, 72, in 1984. They married three years later.

Joy Scott MBE.Joy Scott MBE.
Joy Scott MBE.

Alan believed his wife deserved special recognition for her decades of services to people with learning disabilities so he nominated her to receive an MBE in 2018.

He said: "She deserved it.

"She does a lot of work for charity and other things as well. She became a carer for our next door neighbour and she runs after school clubs for children so their parents can work.

"I just got a bee in my bonnet one day and thought she deserved it. Once I've got a bee in my bonnet, I never give up."

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It was all Alan could do to keep his nomination a secret for two years before Joy received a very special email on December 2, 2019 informing her that she was to be named in the 2020 New Years honours list.

Joy said: "I went straight outside to ring Alan and he burst into tears. I went back in to eat my lunch and I was eating my lunch thinking, 'what the hell is going on?'"

Word soon got out at Joy's place of work. Joy - with a chuckle - added: "My colleagues mimicked me and curtsied every time they saw me, which was fun."

The coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately meant that Joy could not retrieve her medal straight away; however, fast forward two years, and she was finally invited to attend Windsor Castle on the afternoon of February 1, 2022 to receive her medal from none other than Princess Anne.

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Joy, recalling the excitement of the day, said: "It was just absolutely amazing. Alan arranged it all. We travelled first class by train and then got a taxi to Paddington station and then first class to Windsor.

"We got there quite early so we had a mosey around. We had a conversation with the police officers on guard and he asked, 'what are you up for?' I asked him how he knew it was me and he said he could see the nervousness in my face."

Upon entering the castle, a small orchestra was playing one of Joy and Alan's favourite songs - 'Shallow' from the film 'A Star Is Born'. The couple were then led into another room so that that the procedure could be explained to them.

Everyone in the room was then called one-by-one by surname to line up in the order they would be presented with their medals. This, Alan said, was the moment that 'made everything real'.

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He continued: "I had a thought to myself about all that time ago, me sitting at our computer putting a lot of work into Joy's nomination and suddenly here I was in Windsor Castle waiting for Joy to receive her medal. It felt most unreal but very exciting for both of us."

Joy's name was called and she stepped up to receive her medal from The Princess Royal, who proceeded to have a lengthy chat with Joy about her work.

Joy said: "She was lovely, so lovely. She knew all about why I got the award and the first thing she mentioned was the school I work at."

After having their photographs taken, Joy and Alan celebrated with a pint at Euston Station swiftly followed by an evening meal at a Chinese restaurant and a 'well-deserved glass of wine' in Northampton when they returned.

Northampton Mencap is in urgent need of volunteers. To find out more, call 01604 874710.