Right royal treat for Betty at TV tribute

Betty Matthews
Betty Matthews

A long serving member of the community from West Pinchbeck has been in the spotlight to mark the Queen becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

Betty Matthews appeared on BBC 1’s The One Show last night alongside others who have also served their country well.

Mrs Matthews’ work in raising money and awareness for Oxfam resulted in her receiving a British Empire Medal (BEM) for charitable services in the community in June last year. She was also named Volunteer of the Year at a ceremony at the Charity Retail Association’s annual conference at Keele University.

The previous year, Mrs Matthews, who has three sons, ten grandchildren and a great-grandson, was recognised by Oxfam for 50 years’ service and she still helps out at the charity’s shop in Station Street in Spalding.

She said she was surprised to get the call from the BBC. She said: “They wanted to take me to Windsor and said they would send a car.

“A Mercedes picked me up after collected someone else from Grimsby.

“The driver got lost on the way but we went through Eton so I’m jolly pleased I got to see Eton school too.

“Our hotel overlooked Windsor Castle – I certainly felt like I was treated like a queen.

”For the show I was interviewed by Alex Jones, who was very nice and asked me about all of the volunteering work I had done. I think my name was put forward because of the Volunteer of the Year award I got last year.

“I’m not expecting to be on for long though – there are several of us there.”

Tomorrow the Queen overtakes Queen Victoria by reigning for more than 63 years and 216 days.

Betty’s first recollections of the Queen was being in the crowd outside the wedding to Prince Philip in 1947.

She said: “We stood in Trafalgar Square and the Mall and stayed all night.

“I can remember the crowd being given boxes when it was realised a lot of people would be camping out – I think they were for our personal possessions – and then they were collected the next day.

“It was amazing to see the wedding and something I’ll never forget.

“I didn’t go down for the coronation but I can remember the Queen flying back from Kenya when the King (George V1) died.

“I was getting married that year and we were going to look at a house that day. It was such a shock.

“We didn’t have a television set then but listened to the coronation on the radio.

“The Queen has certainly been an amazing monarch.”

Since the Act of Union 1707 united England and Scotland to form Great Britain there have been 12 monarchs of the Kingdom – three women and nine men.

The countries shared a monarch with Ireland but were not officially united with the country until 1801 when the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed.

After most of Ireland left the union in 1922 the name was changed again to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.