On Tuesday 17th October 2017, Lyn Gould, was officially awarded her MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by HRH The Princess Royal in the Grand Ballroom, Buckingham Palace for the work she has done for the children in China through Butterfly Children’s Hospices. Lyn travelled to London with her husband and charity co-founder Alan, her mum, her son and daughter in law and her beloved grandsons, who would all be present for her big moment. She shared her thoughts from the day in a blog that can be found on the Butterfly Children’s Hospices website.
Lyn paints a colourful and poignant picture of this memorable day in her blog, describing her feelings on being one of those chosen for this prestigious award, the magnificence of their royal surroundings, the joy of having her family there to share in this special day and the moment that HRH Princess Anne attached the MBE medal onto her dress and chatted to her about her recent visit to Butterfly Children’s Hospice in China.
Vividly recalling this moment, Lyn writes,
“My turn came. As I waited in the doorway, the usher chatted and adjusted the angle of my hat, advising me to look upwards a bit so HRH could see my face. Before I knew it I was moving forward into the room to wait by the big guy in the uniform, ready to move on when I was announced and my surname was spoken (if I didn’t move at the right moment he would push me in the back!).
“Actually I was really happy and proud, my family were smiling broadly and I was praying I wouldn’t fall over my own feet as I curtsied – I didn’t. One, two, three, turn, curtsey and walk forward, toes to edge of dais. HRH was smiling broadly and popped the medal onto the hook placed on my dress earlier. She chatted about her visit to Butterfly in July and hoped it would have done some good to the charity and the future of children’s palliative care in China. Then she was shaking my hand and I was trying to walk backwards elegantly in shoes that were actually killing me by then, curtsied (of a sort) turned and walked slowly out – beaming at my family, so happy they could share the day with Alan and me.”
A glass heart and a piece of jade on a red thread
Hidden from sight, Lyn carried with her a special little bag that was tucked in her clothes over her heart. The bag contained two objects, a glass heart representing all the children and families cared for in the Butterfly Home and a small piece of jade on a red thread representing all the children lost in the system, and their parents who have ‘lost’ these children and cannot know what has happened to them. Lyn writes,
“I wanted them all to be there as they are such a huge part of the story and of MY story. They have moved me and shaped the woman I am now. I wanted to honour them and give them dignity – to be there as the honour was conferred. Just as my family was there, the children and their families were there too.
The contribution of others
Acknowledging all those who have contributed to the success of the Butterfly Children’s Hospices, particularly her husband Alan, Lyn writes,
“People have been very thrilled by this award to me (as of course I am) but an award like this rarely represents one person’s efforts. It may be that only one person gets the medal but in reality it has been the hard work and sacrifice of many, in this case – particularly Alan. To sell your business and leave the life you have built in England for the unknown of China is a major step of love, courage and faith. It was Alan who organised all the renovations, doing much of it himself, set up the admin and finance systems, shopped, cooked and generally looked after me, keeping me sane and driving me mad in equal measure – as I’m sure I did him! He loved the children and there was nothing he wouldn’t do to make sure they were well looked after and happy. He modelled a loving father, playing with them, comforting them when they cried, weeping over them in his arms as they died.
“Since I heard about the award I have tried to recall all those who have played a part in the story, realising it is impossible! This one will be for another blog post someday! But for the time being, I am extremely thankful to everyone who has contributed to this dream and enabled us to make a difference for so many children so far, and for all of those children to come through our doors in the future. Thank you to each and every family member, friend, trustee, donor, volunteer, supporter from across all corners of the World and to the Chinese government officials who have backed this dream – without each hand who has helped, this would not have been possible.”
Read the complete blog here.