Unfortunately Santa Clause himself has not been lucky enough to receive an honour, but many wonderful people getting into the Christmas spirit have been awarded the accolades they deserve.
The closest Santa Clause has come to an honour is in the shape of ‘Secret Santa’ Edward Joseph Cooper, a Belfast Pensioner who received an MBE for his outstanding generosity. For over 50 years Mr Cooper has distributed Christmas presents to underprivileged children in Northern Ireland. In true Santa fashion Mr Cooper was happy to go unknown for his work and still delivers presents to the children today, well after his retirement. I think we would all agree that Mr Cooper is a deserving winner of an MBE with his truly heart-warming story.
Margaret Williams from Flint in Wales was also awarded an MBE for another selfless act of giving over the Christmas period. Since 1999 Mrs Williams’ charity North Wales Superkids has grown from giving presents to 150 disadvantaged youngsters to more than 1400.
Meanwhile, after his wife Marie died from cancer in 1972, Thompson Dawson became involved in a charity she had helped set up for Santa Clause to visi
t children in the Greater Belfast area. Up to 30 volunteers donned the Santa costume to the delight of the children. Mr Dawson ran this operation for over 40 years and received an MBE for his services.
As well as lots of wonderful gifts, another integral component of the festive period is Christmas lunch. Let me ask you this…have you ever made Christmas lunch for 40 people? I didn’t think so. Give some thought to poet and broadcaster Lemn Sissay who was awarded an MBE for his large contributions to charity including raising £9000 and hosting an amazing Christmas dinner for 40 young care leavers between the ages of 24 and 25.
These stories prove that being awarded an MBE is not just for the rich and famous. Queen’s honours are the UK’s way of recognising and highlighting exceptional achievements and selfless individuals who dedicate their time to helping others. Good local people who have given their time and gone that extra mile are constantly being rewarded at Buckingham Palace, whether they’re wearing a Santa costume or not!
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