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Swimming instructor Jackie White rewarded with MBE after 50 years of volunteering at Halliwick Penguins Swimming Club
A volunteer sworn to secrecy about receiving an MBE has finally been allowed to tell her friends and family about her accolade.
Jackie White, who has volunteered as a swimming instructor for 50 years, received a letter a month ago asking if she would accept the MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.
The 67-year-old, who volunteers at the Halliwick Penguins Swimming Club, based in Southgate Leisure Centre, was recognised for her services to disability swimming.
Ms White, who lives in The Ridgeway in Enfield Chase, said: “About a month before, we have to say whether we are going to accept it or not so it was all kept top secret until December 29.
“It was really quite funny because when it came out in the morning, I phoned my children and said ‘we must all go out for breakfast now’ and that was really nice.”
She said her family and friends are very proud to hear of her achievement.
The swimming group, in Winchmore Hill Road, is dedicated to teaching people with disabilities to swim using the Halliwick method, which calls for one-to-one training with a swimmer and a coach.
Despite her feat, the dedicated volunteer remains modest and said there are many other people that deserve to be rewarded for their hard work in the borough.
She said: “I am going through these elements of feeling so excited but there are all these other people that also do so much – probably more than me – and you think ‘why should I get it?’ But I think that is how lots of people feel.
“I don’t quite believe it’s all happening.”
She is yet to receive the medal celebrating her achievement, but is researching on the internet about what the awards ceremony will entail in the coming months.
Ms White is one of three people in Enfield to be rewarded with an MBE. Ann Cable has received one in recognition of her voluntary service to the St John Ambulance Service in London and Peter Gross, assistant headteacher at Enfield Grammar School, has been honoured for his service to education.