Queen honours Gwent stalwarts at Buckingham Palace

INSPIRATIONAL: Stuart Nixon with wife Marie at Buckingham Palace

FOR HILDA: David Smith collects the MBE awarded to his mother Hilda Smith

HONOUR: Hilda Smith

First published in Gwent news

A NEWPORT man whose “inspirational” work to support people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) earned him an MBE, received the honour from The Queen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Stuart Nixon, 49, from Newport, was diagnosed with the condition aged 18, and is now largely con fined to a wheelchair.

But that has not stopped him from volunteering for the MS Society for 17 years, completing six years as a trustee, and raising £62,000 following a 60-kilometre walk across London with a specially-made frame last October.

Mr Nixon, who works for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, attended the ceremony with wife Marie and sons Sean and Killian.

“To be honoured by the Queen was the icing on the cake. It was very humbling,”

he said.

He was nominated by staff from the MS Society, including chief executive Michelle Mitchell, who said: “I am thrilled Stuart’s outstanding contributions have been recognised in this way. He is a real inspiration.”

An MBE awarded last year to Hilda Smith, from Newport, a stalwart campaigner for older people who died before she was able to collect it, has been presented to her son.

She was honoured in the 2013 New Years honours list for services to frail and vulnerable people, but died last March, aged 94.

The former nurse and social worker, a member of the Welsh Government’s Older Persons Advisory Committee, retired to Wales in 1986, and established the Newport U3A and the Welsh Food Alliance.

Her son David Smith, who collected the MBE at Buckingham Palace, said he was “very proud” to receive it on behalf of his mother for services “rendered to frail and vulnerable people, and to reinforce the importance of effective campaigning to secure the quality of services that are urgently required.

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