A biologist, a vet and a law adviser

Caroline Yon, originally from St Annes, has been awarded the MBE for her community service on the remote British territory of Ascension Island.
Caroline Yon, originally from St Annes, has been awarded the MBE for her community service on the remote British territory of Ascension Island.
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SHE is a part-time vet, legal adviser and marine biologist on a tiny remote island in the middle of the Atlantic.

And now St Annes-raised Caroline Yon can add Member of the British Empire to her distinguished array of titles.

Mrs Yon has lived on Ascension Island, a British territory with a population of fewer than 900 people 1,000 miles from the coast of mainland Africa, for the past 21 years.

Now she has now been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours, in recognition of her commitment to several different aspects of island life.

Speaking from her home on the island, Mrs Yon, 46, told The Gazette: “It’s a big honour and I’m really very happy about it.

“They contact you about a month in advance, I had a call from the governor of St Helena Island (another British Atlantic territory from which Ascension Island is governed) and they asked me if I wanted to accept.

“Of course I said yes but I had to keep it a secret until it was published.”

Mrs Yon, an ex-pupil of the old Queen Mary School, previously worked for the Government Communications Headquarters and was posted to Ascension, a strategic outpost, in the early 1990s.

She said: “I suppose in recent history it’s famed as being the staging post for the Falkland Islands because we’re about half way to the Falklands from the UK. I came here to work for the civil service, but ended up falling in love with the island – and my husband.”

As well as keeping up with a full-time job Mrs Yon manages to act as the island’s self-taught lay veterinary surgeon and served for 15 years as a Justice of the Peace, transferring recently to the role of lay advocate.

She also played a key role in setting up the first democratic Island Council in 2002.

Owen O’Sullivan, acting Governor of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, said: “Ascension Island relies heavily on volunteers and is blessed with many. The award of an MBE recognises that Caroline is one of the island’s finest examples.”

Mrs Yon lives with her husband Chris, 40 and 10-year-old daughter Hannah, but still returns to the Fylde coast every year to visit relatives.

She now hopes to send Hannah to Kirkham Grammar School as a boarder and is making arrangements to visit Buckingham Palace to collect her award.

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