Fes­tive fun: The first an­nual Win­dow to Win­dow street art fes­ti­val on Fri­day was a mas­sive suc­cess. Pic­tured are HO­CUS youth group mem­bers Lucy Lind­say and Si­enna Her­bert who cre­ated the art dis­played on the win­dow of An­drew Vale and As­so­ciates in Car­rier

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Simon Rup­pert

For most peo­ple grow­ing up in Be­nalla I’m sure an in­vi­ta­tion from Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen is per­haps the last thing you might ex­pect.

How­ever, that is ex­actly what hap­pened to for­mer res­i­dent Anne-Ma­ree Keenan, who even picked up an OBE along the way.

An OBE, or Or­der of the Bri­tish Em­pire, is one of the high­est hon­ours a per­son in the UK can re­ceive.

It is a ti­tle be­stowed upon a per­son to hon­our their con­tri­bu­tion to the arts or science, or to recog­nise out­stand­ing work with a char­ity or wel­fare or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Ms Keenan, the el­dest daugh­ter of Be­nalla’s Bill Keenan and Marg Mack­erell, grew up lo­cally be­fore mov­ing to Mel­bourne to at­tend univer­sity.

Af­ter qual­i­fy­ing as a po­di­a­trist, Ms Keenan worked in pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor po­si­tions, while also teach­ing at La Trobe Univer­sity and then the Univer­sity of Western Syd­ney.

She left Aus­tralia and moved to Leeds in 2002 where she has lived ever since, and is now a Professor of Ap­plied Health Re­search.

A for­mer stu­dent of St Joseph’s Pri­mary School and FCJ Col­lege, Ms Keenan still de­scribes Be­nalla as home, and vis­its reg­u­larly.

‘‘My mum and her fam­ily still live here and I come back at least once a year to see them,’’ Ms Keenan said. ‘‘Much to my hus­band’s con­cern, Be­nalla is still home and al­ways will be and I come back as of­ten as I can.’’

Con­tin­ued Page 3

Proud: Be­nalla girl Anne-Ma­ree Keenan re­ceives an OBE from Her Royal High­ness Queen El­iz­a­beth II.

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