JPK Project founder Jill Parker has formally received her MBE medal.
Jill Parker, who works tirelessly to improve services for people with learning disabilities, attended Windsor Castle on September 17 to receive her MBE from Prince William.
The 72-year-old was made MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List back in June.
She was bestowed the honour for her being the founder of Eastbourne Area Parents’ Action Group and the JPK Sussex Project. The accolade comes after 35 years of services to children and adults with a learning disability and their families.
She described the day as ‘fantastic’ and said, “It was the most wonderful day.
“I was quite nervous but everyone was so cheerful and helpful, they really put me at ease and were full of congratulations.
“Prince William was so very charming and he had really taken the time to learn why we were all there. He spoke to us all personally, was really up to speed and asked carefully though out and meaningful questions.”
Jill attended the investiture with her proud husband Dr Patrick Parker, her 95-year-old mother Sylvia Westley and her sister Jackie Bevan.
Jill added, “I cannot praise the staff enough, they even came over with a chair for my mother.”
She said she was treated to a tour of the castle and saw the rooms belonging to the Kings and Queens of Britain over many hundreds of years.
Jill said, “The Queen’s rooms are in a separate wing but it was wonderful to see the other parts of the castle. I had never been to Windsor Castle before and thought it was absolutely stunning.”
Jill started her work shortly after her daughter, Katie Parker, was born with a learning disability.
She said, “My daughter Katie was my initial inspiration along with all her friends and their families who have helped during my journey over the years to try and raise the profile of the needs and facilities for people with a learning disability in Eastbourne and the surrounding area.
“I couldn’t have achieved so much without the support of my family, friends, wonderful supporters and colleagues over the years.
“You are all part of this accolade.”
Today Jill is best known for her work on the JPK Project, but has set up multiple organisations over the past 35 years, many of which are still running today. She has also raised millions of pounds for people living with a learning disability and is still tirelessly fundraising to make the JPK Project’s dream of creating a residential centre a reality.
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