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Frome residents honoured at Buckingham Palace

PRINCESSAnne presented two Frome residents with their MBEs last week, after they were named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. 

Carnival organiser June Barnes was awarded the MBE for services to the community, while teacher Simon Pugh-Jones received an MBE for services to education.

June and Simon attended their investiture at Buckingham Palace on Thursday 7th March. They were presented alongside London 2012 Olympic figures including Sebastian Coe and sailor Ben Ainslie, who received their honours in the same ceremony.

June took two daughters and her grandson to the ceremony, who had front row seats. She said, “It was a lovely experience, something I will never forget. It was quite an honour for it to be Princess Anne, she doesn’t do many, and I was very pleased it was her. She spoke to everyone and really showed a lot of interest. I told her about netball, and the carnival and its charity side.”

Simon, who invited his parents to accompany him to the investiture said, “It was an interesting experience, meeting some of our Olympians, and waiting to go up in a room of interesting people. It wasn’t just the famous people – there were lots of people with stories of their own particular contributions.”

June has more than 35 years’ service to Frome Carnival, serving as chair of the Carnival Committee and as secretary of the Frome Carnival Charities Association which raises thousands of pounds every year for local people, groups and organisations.

She has also been chairman of Frome Netball Club for 62 years and is president of Somerset County Netball Association. She was a member of the Frome and District Youth Centre for many years, and helped secure its future when under threat last year; she is leader of the Wives Group at St John’s Church and vice-chairman of the South Parade Club committee.

Simon Pugh-Jones who lives in Frome has been teaching at Writhlington School since 1989 and has become well known for innovation in science and enterprise, especially through his development of the Writhlington School Orchid Project.

The orchid project has involved students in global conservation, research and horticultural excellence for more than 20 years, with highlights including gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show and expeditions to some of the world’s most remote tropical habitats.

Simon’s pupils have explored the forests of Central and South America, the Himalayas, South East Asia and Africa and worked with community groups and schools to support effective conservation through raising orchids from seed in laboratories.