A civil servant from Cleadon has been presented with her MBE in a prestigious ceremony held at Buckingham Palace.
Margaret Burns was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, last year.
At first, I thought someone was winding me up.Margaret Burns
She was awarded the honour for her 41 years as a civil servant and her role as a magistrate.
She was also recognised for her work with a breast cancer support group after she herself had beaten the disease.
At the ceremony in Buckingham Palace yesterday, Mrs Burns joined others who had made the journey to London, to be presented with the honour by Prince Charles.
Speaking at the time of being recognised for her work, Mrs Burns, who works for HM Revenue and Customs, said: “I was absolutely thrilled to find out.
“It was a massive surprise, because it’s something you just never expect to happen to you.
“At first, I thought that someone was winding me up.
“It’s a huge privilege, and has helped to make this a very special year for the family after myself and Denis celebrated our 40-year anniversary on Valentine’s Day.”
Mrs Burns, who is married to husband Denis and recently moved to Cleadon, has worked as a civil servant for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HMRC)since leaving school.
For the last 18 years, she has also been a magistrate serving at South Shields Magistrates’ Court, and has been a school governor in the past.
Her biggest battle, though, came when she was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago.
After beating the disease, she dedicated time to a support group for other breast cancer patients at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), in Newcastle.
Mrs Burns, who has a son Graeme, aged 30, said: “People could come to me and I could explain my experience.
“I also spoke to doctors about how it feels to be a patient to give them some understanding of what it was like to be on the other side.
“We made a DVD so people could see others who had gone through it.
“I found it very rewarding.
“Over the years, I’ve also done lots of fundraisers for charity and have worked as much as I can in the community. I’ve always just wanted to put something back into the community.”
An MBE is awarded to those who can demontrate outstanding achievement or service to the community.
The work carried out is to have a long-term, significant impact and stand out as an example to others.
Hobours are awarded twice a year - at New Year and to mark The Queen’s birthday.