WHEN Wyn McGeorge opened a letter to say she was to be honoured by the Queen she thought it was a practical joke.
She was so convinced it was a hoax she hid the letter away for weeks, and it was only after phone calls from the Cabinet Office that 81-year-old Wyn came to accept she was being made an MBE.
The citation in her New Year’s Honour says it is for her services to housing in Burnley.
She has represented the interest of tenants for 40 years, was chairman of Burnley and Padiham Community Housing Association and has been the lynch pin of Calico, Burnley’s main present day housing association, as a board member and its chairman.
But for all that, unassuming Wyn was in total shock. “I just thought who on earth would be giving me a medal. Quite honestly, if it had said it was my late husband who was being given the medal I would have been highly chuffed.”
Her late husband, Ken, was a well-respected Burnley councillor for 25 years and was council leader.
He was elected Mayor in 1988, with Wyn by his side as Mayoress, a year she thoroughly enjoyed.
They were married in 1952 and when Ken was elected as a councillor, in 1971, she began to act as his aide. Said Wyn: “He worked tirelessly all his life to make Burnley a better place.
“I used to do work for him and it is surprising how much information you pick up over the years. I love it.
“They keep saying I am too old, but that’s not right. I broke my leg in September and I had the most boring weeks I can remember. I like to be out and about, doing things and meeting people.”
Wyn’s six children had had an inkling an honour might be in the pipeline for 18 months. She said: “They had just put it out of their minds, but they are all thrilled to bits. I’ve had all sorts of presents – even a pair of oven gloves with a crown on.
“It’s a brilliant year to receive a medal with it being the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.
“I think I’ll have to hire a coach - or a train - to take the family when I get it. I’ve no idea when the investiture will be, and it is a very busy year for the Queen, so it might be given out by someone else.”