Bittersweet MBE for father of murdered Blackpool nurse

John Clough who has received the MBE
John Clough who has received the MBE

The father of a nurse murdered outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital has spoken of his visit to Buckingham Palace to receive the MBE.

John Clough was awarded the honour for his services to victims of domestic abuse following his nine years of work with wife Penny, who also has the award.

When he got the letter about the honour in November, he said he thought it was a reply from an MP about the couple’s campaign to get a register of stalkers to protect victims.

He said: “I was surprised and delighted, but had to keep it a secret until the New Year’s Honours were announced.

“The whole experience of going down to London with the family was brilliant.

“You don’t know beforehand who will be presenting the awards, so it was a fantastic surprise that it was the Duke of Cambridge.

“Prince William was wonderful and asked a lot of questions about our work in the domestic abuse field.”

John also got to shake the hand of England captain Harry Kane, who was also at the palace getting his MBE.

But he added: “It has been wonderful, but I would rather have Jane back in our lives. Nothing that we have achieved has been worth what it cost.”

John and Penny have worked tirelessly since daughter Jane was murdered by her abusive ex-partner Jonathan Vass in July 2010 while he was on bail accused of her rape.

They have campaigned for changes in the bail act to protect victims from abusers awaiting trial and have helped found the safe haven Jane’s Place in Burnley with its 15 apartments, which in the two years since its opening has been continually full.

They are also patrons of five SafeNet refuges in the North West and now they are campaigning for the Stalkers Register that would keep track of those convicted of stalking–similar to the Sex Offender’s Register.