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Beverley Aitken MBE

Following the announcement in June that former Chair of the East Kent College Governing Body, Beverley Aitken, would be awarded an MBE for her services to Further Education and to the community in Kent, she recently collected the honour at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.

Having been awarded the MBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, Beverley was invited to a special investiture to receive her honour from the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William. The ceremony saw Beverley meet a number of other award recipients, who were receiving honours for a diverse array of reasons including their service to the military, Government, and community work. 

Explains Beverley: “I went up with family the day beforehand and stayed overnight in London, as for the investiture ceremony you need to be at the Palace at 9.45am. Obviously, no one wants to rush something as special as this, so it was nice to be able to be a bit more leisurely on the morning of the investiture. The recipients are taken into their own separate room to await their turn, while guests sit in the ballroom to watch the different honours being awarded. There are officials there who explain the protocols to recipients, and they are then taken in individually to collect their award.”

The former East Kent College Chair said the experience was ‘amazing’, adding that she had plenty of time to meet the Duke of Cambridge.

She said: “It really was quite overwhelming in many respects, almost surreal, and just fantastic in every way. Prince William spent a great deal of time talking to all those receiving an honour, and when I was awarded mine he already knew who I was and what I was receiving it for. The fact that he had clearly spent time doing his homework and reading up on why people were getting their honour made it even more special, and far more meaningful for me. It really was a fantastic and special day, and will stay in my memories forever.”

Group Principal and Chief Executive, Graham Razey, said: “It really is absolutely wonderful to see Beverley rewarded for the work she’s undertaken to help drive our organisation forward. She helped oversee improvement in standards and develop strategic direction which led to us navigating a huge merger between East Kent College and Canterbury College, and ultimately the creation of EKC Group. It is her foresight and direction that has helped lead to our ability to systemically plan further education across East Kent, and deliver our mission to enhance the communities which we serve. There is no doubt in my mind that she is an extremely worthy recipient of this MBE and all here at EKC Group wish her many congratulations.”