15th June 2015

Everything you wanted to know about an MBE (and WEREN’T afraid to ask!)

Sandy-Tangerine (11)

On 3rd May, two days after I’d broken one leg and sprained the other (but that’s another story), I asked a friend to grab the post out of my post box on the front step.  She came back carrying an envelope with ‘Cabinet Office’ on the front and I asked her to throw it in the bin, thinking it was pre-election mail ‘from’ the Prime Minister.

Well, I was right about one thing, it was from the Prime Minister (sort of) … Luckily my friend didn’t listen to me (that’s hardly unusual to be honest) and insisted I open it, thinking it might be something quite different. And it was.

The letter read: “The Prime Minister has asked me to inform you, in strict confidence, that having accepted the advice of the Head of the Civil Service and the Main Honours Committee, he proposes to submit your name to the Queen. He is recommending that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the Birthday 2015 Honours List.”

It went on to ask if I’d accept the honour. Er….hell yes!

Since then, we’ve been sworn to secrecy until 10.30pm on 12th June when the announcement embargo lifted and all hell (in a lovely way) broke loose!

Literally from 10.31pm until…well now…to be honest, I’ve had the most amazingly kind text messages and tweets (600+ mentions and more than 200,000 impressions) as well as calls and carrier pigeons…ok not the latter, but you get the gist and the two questions most people ask is: “So how does it work?” and “When do you get to see the Queen at Buck House?”

The simple (and not very interesting) answer to question one is I don’t really know – I, for instance, don’t know who the kind soul who nominated me for this amazing thing was. But from what I’ve ascertained, basically anyone can nominate anyone – you simply download a form from the interweb and it gets sent off and analysed – it can take anything up to 18 months apparently – and then you get that lovely letter…or you don’t.  Luckily (amazingly) I did.

The answer to the second question people ask: “When do you go to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen?” is: I don’t. Now don’t be too disappointed; I do get to go to a palace, but it’s St James’ Palace. When? At any point between now until seven months, apparently. And I don’t necessarily get the award from the Queen – it could be any member of the royal family. For myself, I’m kind of hoping it’s Charlie – I do like him as I think he does some great work. But I’m not overly fussy – I’m no royalist but I do think they do an amazing job so I’ll be over the moon to meet whoever (or whomever) it is.

Because, while I’d like to be all cool and nonplussed about all of this, to be honest, I’m blown away. It’s an amazing honour for a girl from a council estate with no university degree and no idea that she was ever going to run her own business, let alone win a shiny medal for its work.

So there you have it. Hardly an informative blog but hopefully it answers your key questions in case you can think of anyone deserving of an honour themselves – take it from me, you’ll be making their day (or year!)

Here you go: I’ll even give you the web link: www.gov.uk/honours – so there’s no excuse now!

By Founder and Chair of Tangerine and The Juice Academy, Sandy Lindsay MBE