A WEARSIDE Wren has been honoured with a top award for her dedication.
Joanne Connor, 40, from Silksworth, was handed the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) after spending more than 22 years in the Royal Navy.
The coveted MSM, regarded as the Armed Force’s “New Year’s Honours List”, celebrates “good, faithful, valuable and meritorious service” as well as “conduct judged to be irreproachable”.
“I was delighted to find out that I had been awarded the MSM,” said the petty officer. “Individuals must have at least 20 years’ service and must already hold long-service and good conduct medals.
“The number of MSMs awarded is also limited.
“No more than 49 a year may be awarded in the Royal Navy, three in the Royal Marines, 89 in the Army and 60 in the Royal Air Force, and in practice, these numbers are not reached.”
The mum-of-two, a former pupil at Southmoor School, was presented with the award at a ceremony on board Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, famous for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar.
The chief of naval personnel and training for Wrens, also known as the RN, attended the event.
“I had to go on board HMS Victory with my family to be presented the award by Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery,” she said.
“His position in the RN is the “Second Sea Lord” and is in charge of all personnel within the RN.
The ex-member of Northumbria Police Cadets is now retiring from the Royal Navy and plans to change career and become a teacher.
“I was 17 when I joined up,” she said. “Apart from the UK, I have served in various other places, including Hong Kong and Belgium, where I met my husband Simon, a former member of the RAF.
“We are now looking to relocate nearer the North, now that I have left the RN.”