A grandmother from Cleveleys has been given an award recognised as one of the highest honours in the Armed Forces.
Patricia Beesley, a reservist with the Army Medical Services, has been presented with the Lord Lieutenant’s certificate, an achievement considered as ranking just below the MBE.
A private ceremony to mark the occasion was held at Ousefield House in York, and Major Beesley was given her certificate by Lord Crathorne, Lord Lieutenant for North Yorkshire, where her regiment is based.
Grandmother-of-two Patricia signed up for the Territorial Army, into 208 Field Hospital, in Liverpool in 1981.
Now she serves with the Army Medical Services Operational HQ in York and is a key member of the HQ Support Group.
She was presented with the award because of her positive attitude, dedication and commitment throughout the course of her reservist career – which has included operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Patricia, who works as a children’s nurse at Royal Lancaster Infirmary, said: “When I first signed up, I wanted to do something, without wanting to sound clichéd, to put something back. I had thought about becoming a special constable, but didn’t fancy the thought of Liverpool on a Saturday night.
“I knew a nurse who was in the TA, so I decided to go along and I signed up.
“I love it, you get to meet and work with like-minded people.
“We do lots of physical training, which keeps us fit, it gives you so many opportunities to have experiences and to travel to places you would never normally get chance to do.
“I’ve been to France, Gibraltar, Cyprus, all sorts of places.
“I met my husband Brian through it.
“I even got my sister into being a reservist too, and she also met her husband through it.”
As part of her service, Patricia has spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
She said: “When we went to Iraq, the nurses were meant to be 200 miles behind the front-line, but fighting doesn’t take place like that anymore and we were, in fact, in front of the front-line. They were bringing injured soldiers forward to us.
“I also served in Afghanistan, at Camp Bastion. And part of my role now is to work with NATO.
“It was such an experience, of course, sometimes difficult and sad.
“But what was really interesting was that techniques we develop, or ways of treating patients, can then be used to help patients here in hospitals in the UK.
“I felt so proud to receive the certificate. But I do feel it’s not just down to me, I have my family, friends, colleagues who enabled me.
“And I do love being in the TA. I would recommend it to anyone.”