MBE for woman who swapped coast for island

She swapped the windswept Fylde coast for a tropical paradise 20 years, but Caroline Yon has been given royal approval for the essential work she carries out on the tiny island she calls home.

By David Sharman
Thursday, 10th April 2014, 12:00 pm

St Annes-raised Mrs Yon has been awarded the MBE for her work on Ascension Island, a British territory in the Atlantic Ocean with a population of fewer than 900 people, which lies 1,000 miles from the coast of mainland Africa.

She has served as a part-time vet, legal adviser and marine biologist on the island since moving there more than 20 years ago - and was awarded her medal by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

Mrs Yon, 48, said: “It’s fantastic and a bit overwhelming.

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“All of us that were there to collect were feeling very unworthy and a bit bemused.

“Prince Charles was actually really nice, very friendly and very chatty.

“He just asked me a few questions about Ascension Island, and he was very kind and pleasant.

“Everybody on the island’s been very pleased for me and I’ve had a lot of messages of support and congratulations.”

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.

She is currently enjoying an extended holiday while staying with family on St Patrick’s Road North, in St Annes, and was joined by husband Chris, 42, daughter Hannah, 12, and mother Jean, 75, in London.

Hannah began as a boarder at Kirkham Grammar School in September.

Mrs Yon added: “She’s doing very well.

“It’s been quite hard because it’s the first time for her living away from the island.

“It’s very different on the Fylde coast compared to a tropical island.”