We spoke to Margaret Kite who was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for her services to the local community.

Why did you start collecting donations for charity?

It goes back a long way, to a jar of apple sauce and a telling off from my Grandma! That’s the truth. I wasn’t very old and she told me I was a pig and a glutton. I went down to the goat pen and cried my eyes out.

From then on I began to think "Well my Granny is right – I am a pig, I am a glutton and I think of nobody else." I thought I’ve got to alter, and I hope I did! I started off with the St John’s Ambulance, became a Superintendent in Kenilworth, and got my Grand Prior badge.

Why did you decide to collect for The Myton Hospices?

I always think that I’m so lucky in life and it’s nice to be able to give a bit back to people who aren’t so lucky. I was a collector at Sainsbury’s but had been let down by another charity who hadn’t got back to me about collecting for them. Anita from the Community Fundraising team at Myton was looking for collectors and the rest is history.

What was the official presentation of your BEM from the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire like?

It was brilliant, though I was shaking like a leaf! The Lord Lieutenant asked if I wanted to say a few words and thought I thought I’d be a miserable devil if I didn’t! I thanked everybody, the people who drive me around here, there and everywhere.

I had representatives from Marie Curie and The Royal British Legion there for the presentation and asked Anita from Myton to come with me to the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace so everyone who I collect for could be included.

Margaret Kite Blog header The Myton Hospices Leamington Spa Rugby Coventry Warwick Warwickshire

How did you feel when you found out you have been named in the New Year’s Honours List?

I had to sign a declaration when I was told in November that I had been named and I had to keep my trap shut! It was a hard secret to keep. I never dreamt anything like this would happen. The medal is going to stay safely in my house; I shan’t be taking it out collecting!

What was your trip to Buckingham Palace like?

It was a real honour to be invited to the Garden Party at Buckingham Party. The day was absolutely fabulous, it really was a once in a lifetime experience. And we were very lucky with the weather too! There were about 6,500 others there, it was unbelievable. I met quite a few different people and I did see the Queen but it was from quite a distance. The day was something I had never expected would happen to me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a brilliant day. I’m pleased Anita from Myton came with me and the gentleman who drove us there and back was lovely too. I was so tired when I got home though.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this possible, from submitting votes and applications to Brookline Corporate Travel who donated a car and chauffeur for the whole day to allow Margaret to travel in the style she deserves.

Feeling inspired?

Could you volunteer at The Myton Hospices? For more information please click here

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