“Being awarded an MBE made me so proud!”

With actress Sarah Gordy collecting her MBE recently we’ve been speaking to Vivienne Bateson MBE, about what it was like when she received her award ten years ago.

Vivienne was honoured in the 2008 New Year’s Honours List for her excellent work at Coventry’s Job Centre Plus. The 47-year-old works on the Business Support team and has been at the centre for 25 years now.

She says she could ‘hardly believe her eyes’ when she arrived home from a swimming gala to find a letter from Buckingham Palace on her doormat. Accepting the award, she said:

“I felt nervous at meeting Prince Charles. He was a friendly and kind person. They showed us how to bow and curtsy and one of their people did a demo. When I first saw it I couldn’t do it but in the end I did. Buckingham Palace was amazing, it was so big inside.”

Vivienne, who is also a keen actress and belongs to a local drama group, performs a number of activities at the Job Centre. Some days she works as a car park attendant, and sometimes she helps out with the administration of booklets and other filing tasks. She’s a keen gymnast too, having been part of the same club for an impressive 40 years.

But Vivienne doesn’t stop there – she’s an Olympic Swimmer too! She is part of the Phoenix Swimming Club and has taken part in the Special Olympics, winning medals galore along the way.

What a woman!  Well done Vivienne.