Two sporting legends got the opportunity to meet Coleraine’s very own legend, Kathleen McBride, when the former international badminton player and founding member of Coleraine Sports Council received her MBE from Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, reports Gillian Anderson.
Kathleen, who is known throughout the borough and much further afield for her tireless work for local sport and the NSPCC looked very much at home in the setting of Buckingham Palace.
Joining Kathleen was her daughter Julie Davis who was overwhelmed with pride as she watched her Mum receive her MBE.
“Prince William was great, he spoke so intently to Mum,” said Julie. “Then when he pinned her award on her he used her first name and said: ‘Well Kathleen it’s been lovely to meet you.’It was very emotional for Mum and for us but such an amazing occasion.
Following the investitute Kathleen and Julie bumped into a couple of sporting stars in the Palace grounds.
“It was a fabulous day and no more than Mum deserved,” explained Julie. “It was funny because my friend messaged me on the way to the Palace and said: ‘I see Victoria Beckham and Jessica Ennis-Hill are getting their awards to day,’ and I jokingly said they must have heard my Mum was going to be there and wanted to be seen there on the same day!
“It was by chance we saw David Beckham. Someone had stopped Victoria for an autograph and she put her head down and wasn’t making any eye contact and was heading straight for her limo. Then David came along and I wondered if it had clicked with him about Mum and Coleraine and the fact he had been there years ago because during the investiture there was a booklet which explained where each person was from and what they had received their award for.
“I asked him if he would mind getting his photo taken with Mum and he said not at all. He came over stood behind her and congratulated her and said how he remembered being in Coleraine. He was great with her and was so genuine.
“After that we went to another area and just as we walked over the Yeoman of the Guard came out for people to have their photos taken with them. Just as I was taking a photo of Mum, Jessica Ennis-Hill came out so of course I asked her would she have her photo taken.
“I explained about Mum’s sporting connection and how she was one of the founder members of the local sports council 47 years ago and how she is the only remaining founder member still alive.
“Jessica went over and stood on the steps with Mum and was more than happy to meet her and have her photo taken with her. It just made the day all the more special for Mum.
“It was an amazing and truly memorable day that I had the privilege of sharing with my very special Mum. She so richly deserves the huge honour that has now been bestowed upon her and I feel so privileged that I was able to witness her receiving her award at Buckingham Palace.”