Off to London to meet the Queen

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page -

From Page 1 Ms Keenan said when she re­ceived a letter from the Cabi­net Of­fice in May she was ini­tially alarmed.

‘‘As an Aus­tralian ci­ti­zen who has a per­ma­nent res­i­dence visa, I thought there must have been some­thing wrong with my visa and they were about to kick me out of the UK,’’ Ms Keenan said.

‘‘So when I read the letter and it was ask­ing if I would ac­cept an OBE for ser­vices to po­di­a­try it was a to­tal shock.

‘‘The letter came com­pletely out of the blue.

‘‘And I was told that I was not al­lowed to tell any­one un­til the Queen’s Birth­day, when the list was pub­lished.’’

Her big­gest task at that point was keep­ing it a se­cret as she ex­cit­edly planned a trip down to London to meet the Queen.

‘‘It was such an hon­our to re­ceive the OBE from Her Majesty, par­tic­u­larly given that she has re­duced the num­ber of in­vesti­tures that she at­tends,’’ Ms Keenan said.

‘‘You are not in­formed of who will present the OBE un­til the day, and given Her

●Majesty’s stature as such an in­flu­en­tial and highly re­spected fig­ure over so many years, it was an ab­so­lute hon­our.

‘‘Her Majesty was not only well in­formed, but in­ter­ested in what I did, what mo­ti­vated me and im­por­tantly, where I was from, not­ing the Aus­tralian ac­cent.

‘‘I only wished I had thought to let her know that she had pre­vi­ously vis­ited Be­nalla.’’

On top of her ser­vices to po­di­a­try Ms Keenan is also a pas­sion­ate cham­pion of sup­port­ing women in her in­dus­try.

She is co-founder of the Leeds Fe­male Lead­ers Net­work, an 800-strong or­gan­i­sa­tion that brings to­gether men and women to sup­port de­vel­op­ing fe­male lead­ers across the city’s health sec­tor.

For her in­vesti­ture, Ms Keenan was joined by her sis­ter Carmel, who came over from Mary­bor­ough for the oc­ca­sion, her hus­band Tony Red­mond and step­daugh­ter Lowri.

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

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