At 80 years old Joan Green has only recently retired and has now received a Queen’s honour for a lifetime dedicated to children and families.
Still at the helm of Home-Start Craigavon, Joan has spent her life caring and supporting children and families across the Lurgan, Portadown and Craigavon area.
All her hard work and volunteering with Home-Start has resulted in a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to children and families in Northern Ireland.
Living in Waringstown Joan spent 60 years in nursing and worked as a health visitor as well as in school health and child protection.
Joan’s husband Robert had been in the RAF stationed in Yorkshire but the couple moved to Waringstown in 1980 and have never left. The couple have two grown up children Robert and Elaine and Joan said it was difficult to keep the honour a secret.
“It’s all a bit of a mystery to me. I have absolutely no idea who nominated me for the honour,” said Joan.
Sadly her husband Robert passed away last year. “He would have loved to have known this,” said Joan. “It is a big surprise but I just keep thinking ‘why did I get it?’”
Though Joan officially retired some years ago she only technically retired four years ago as she kept going back to her job. “I loved my work. There was nothing else I wanted to do,” she said.
“I am accepting the honour for all my colleagues over the years. You never work alone. There was always someone behind you. We were a team.”
Mrs Green said: “I am delighted. It is a great honour.”
She is a little sad her husband was not here to see this but she will be going to Hillsborough with her children. “I have a problem with my legs now so I don’t think I could manage Buckingham Palace,” she said.
Joan has been involved with Home-Start Craigavon for many years. It provides a unique service for families - recruiting and training volunteers to support parents with young children at home.