This OBE honour is bestowed upon so many. It recognises that when people go missing, it’s serious. Sometimes a life and death issue. And if there’s excellence to commend, it’s that we have a society where there are organisations like ours, dedicated to caring. The big-hearted people.
It was when I was small-talking with the Lieutenant, standing next in line, that I unexpectedly heard my voice catch and tears brim. I thought crikey Jo. You can’t cry when you’re talking to Princess Anne. She’s just lost her mum. Anne had an expression so like our late Queen it was distracting, as if the whole thing wasn’t distracting enough. Worrying about making a decent job out of a curtseying, or looking like some of our Prime Ministers grazing their knees on the carpet.
I talked about how many people have to live through missing. How closely our Royal Patron the Duchess of Gloucester listens to families talking about their special people. I was aware my arms were waving around and I forgave myself for the passion.
Then, in a jot we were walking down the palace stairs and into the sunshine. My daughter just stopped herself toppling down the stairs in a first-outing-ever in a pair of heels, delivered with hours to spare.
It was special to be there with my kids and partner – who’ve done the toddler-teens (as have I) in my years with the charity – forever the believers. Because charities are always a family affair. A huge team effort of supporters and friends ready to go the extra mile.
I’ve always been proud and daunted in varying measures to hold a mission so precious, to represent every single one of us in this relay. To carry the can and on some days, to carry the award – for us all, those who went before, and those who are no longer here that we always remember.
So, it was a time to smile, most especially in troubled times, and know that it is possible to make the world a little better after all – and to celebrate that the world recognises it.