Two women have been awarded for their services to British nationals in Spain in the New Year Honours List, published on Saturday 31 December 2022.
There are more than 2,000 British nationals living in the area covered by Help Vega Baja and for many of them the charity has been a lifeline in difficulty times. Since becoming its President in 2015, Michele Masson has steered the charity through the twin challenges of Brexit and Covid, as well as the severe flooding that hit the Vega in September 2019 – providing a source of constant support to the community when they needed it most. More recently, she has corralled the charity’s volunteers to gather supplies of food and clothes for the local Ukrainian association to distribute to the high volume of refugees arriving in Torrevieja.
His Majesty's Ambassador Hugh Elliott said: “I know that my colleagues in our Alicante consulate find it hard to imagine the south of the province without Help Vega Baja and, indeed, without Michele. Under her leadership, the charity has become one of our key partners in the region – assisting with complex consular cases and acting as our eyes and ears on the ground. During the pandemic, Michele worked with us on a partnership pilot project to distribute consular funding via food vouchers to vulnerable families whose income had been lost due to Covid restrictions. Michele is a wonderful example of leading by doing and I am delighted that she has been honoured for her work.”
Michele Masson said: “I am honoured to be awarded the British Empire Medal for services to British nationals in Spain by his Majesty, King Charles III. The charity world has many challenges, but knowing at the end of each day we have made a difference makes everything we are faced with worthwhile. I extend my appreciation to colleagues, friends and family who support me. Thank you all.”
Beverley has been a leading influence on charitable and community work in Tenerife for over 17 years, volunteering initially at The Living Room and then co-founding Noah’s Ark. Her focus is on providing support – of whatever kind – to those who need it most, when they most need it. As well as her ongoing work with the homeless, the bereaved and victims of crime, during the pandemic she organised the delivery of food and other essentials to the most vulnerable.
HMA Hugh Elliott said: “I know that Beverley would say that this honour should go not just to her, but to the whole team at Noah’s Ark and so I would like to pay tribute to all the incredible volunteers. But I do hope she won’t mind me saying that her individual nomination comes as a result of the unstinting support that she personally has provided, and continues to provide, to those most in need – not only British nationals, but anyone that needs her help. Her work is an inspiration, and I am delighted that she has accepted this MBE in recognition of that.”
Beverley Corbett said: “I am pleased to accept this award, but the work is just what I do. And I am so grateful and thankful for all the skilled and willing helpers that the Lord sends to work alongside me.”