Swimming coach Anya’s shock at being invited to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London

Swimming coach Anya Francis MBE has expressed her surprise at being invited to attend the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 12:30 pm

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Former Olympic swimming trialist Anya Francis, from Hetton, was just getting over her shock at being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List when she received another surprise.

The 48-year-old civil servant received the honour for her “services to young people in Durham through Swimming” after she has played a pivotal role in developing Hetton Amateur Swim club and has now been invited to attend the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Anya is set to attend the Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral followed by a reception at Guildhall on Friday, June 3 – something that she didn't expect to happen.

Anya Francis with the letter from the Cabinet Office informing her she was awarded a MBE.

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She said: “Receiving the MBE was a level of surprise I’d never experienced before but this is totally another step further, I still can’t believe that I’ve been invited.

"When I first received a message inviting me I just deleted it and thought nothing of it and it wasn’t until they got back in touch to ask why I hadn’t responded yet did I realise what it was.

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"What makes it even more special is that only a small few who received their MBE for community work have been invited so it was nice to be picked out of so many people.”

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations will start on Thursday, June 2 and run until Sunday, June 5, with a host of public events marking Her Majesty’s marking 70 years of service.