A BISHAMPTON woman said she was ‘shocked and overwhelmed’ to receive an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Marion Gough was honoured by Her Majesty ‘for services to the victims of AIDS, particularly children, in Tanzania’ through her work with the Orphans in the Wild charity.
Started by Geoff Fox and family in 2006, Orphans in the Wild has sent five 40-ft containers filled with thousands of items and equipment to the African country.
About 90 hospital beds, X-ray machines, ultrasound, dental equipment, optical equipment, medical items, warm clothing for babies, children and adults and hundreds of hand knitted blankets by several knitting circles have been sent since 2006.
Stationery and other items for schools and office equipment such as filing cabinets and computers were also shipped by the charity.
Marion told the Observer she felt emotional when she was told she would receive the honour, but has no idea who nominated her.
“I heard a few weeks before telling I had been nominated, the first thing I wanted to do was to ring and tell my family, but was sworn to complete secrecy, I have been bursting to tell them.” she said.
“On the afternoon of the honours announcements I looked on the internet and couldn’t find my name which didn’t surprise me as there are so many nominated.
“However, on Saturday morning our charity founder of the Tanzanian side Foxes Community and Wildlife Conservation Trust
NGO, Geoff Fox rang me and told me to look under the Diplomatic and Overseas Section.
“I found I had been honoured with the MBE and I was shocked, completely overwhelmed and I just couldn’t believe it!
Due to the high cost of getting the containers shipped and through customs, Orphans in the Wild are also fund-raising to
allow them to purchase supplies in Tanzania.
The charity is also trying to raise funds for a number of major building projects including an orphanage, a HIV/Aids care and treatment centre and for more testing for the disease in Mufinid, Tanzania.
And Marion hopes her honour will raise the profile of the work being carried out by Orphans in the Wild.
“The amazing work is personally overseen by Geoff Fox who has lived in Mufindi for more than 55 years now.” she added.
“We are a small family charity running on a totally voluntary basis where 99.9 per cent of all our funds reach their destination.
“I regularly visit Mufindi to have a look at the progress, join in the work involved and report back to our supporters.”
Visit www.wildorphans.org or www.facebook.com/OrphansInTheWild for more information about the charity.