A Horncastle doctor’s last words to her dying mum was the proud moment she revealed she had been awarded an MBE.
Doctor Yvonne Owen was included in the Queen’s birthday honours list, announced at the weekend. She has been a highly respected general practitioner at The Wolds practice in Tetford since 1989, helping thousands of patients.
Dr Owen - a mum of three - is also a leading figure in Horncastle based charity LIVES.
In an exclusive interview with the News, Dr Owen told how the official confirmation came just three days after the death of her mum.
She said: “It was a very difficult week because my mum tragically died early last Wednesday morning. It takes a lot to keep me away from work but I just wasn’t able to speak to anyone last week.
“She would just have been over the moon with the MBE.
“I did tell her. I did have a few hours with her before she died. She was pleased and I think she was already proud of me. I’d always told her from a very young age that I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up.
“She always said to me - ‘If you don’t make it, why don’t you think of something else?’
“She always told me that story. She was fiercely independent and lived life as she wanted to, right up until the very end.”
Dr Owen dedicated her MBE to her family and colleagues at LIVES. She found out about the MBE four weeks ago but was sworn to secrecy.
Dr Owen added: “It came totally out of the blue.
“I got a letter and on the front, it said ‘On Her Majesty’s Service, urgent and personal from the Cabinet Office’.
“At the time, I was reading a book about spies in the Second World War and I immediately thought - gosh, they think I’m guilty of espionage.
“When I opened it I thought - is this real? I showed it to my daughter who was stood next to me and she said yes.”
Dr Owen admits not telling anyone was difficult for the first few days, but became easier because of her hectic lifestyle.
As well as being a general practitioner in Tetford, she is Clinical Director of LIVES, serves on the Lincolnshire East CCG governing body and is lead GP for out-of-hours care in the east of the county.
She added: “I am just delighted for myself and for LIVES because I believe it is just as much an honour for them as it is for me.
“I’m also delighted for my children because I have been a doctor since they were born and they have always known that mum sometimes will just jump in the car and disappear for a couple of hours.
“They have always had to share me with patients and everybody really. They have been absolutely great.”
The family live in a village near Horncastle. Dr Owen’s eldest daughter, Kat, is 22, Jess is 19 and son Tom 17.
Dr Owen qualified at Nottingham University and joined The Wolds Practice in 1989.