Queen recognises Barry's peoples champion
7:21am Thursday 24th April 2014 in News
COMMUNITY champion Molly Conway renowned for telling it how it is has told the Queen her views on the Council while accepting her MBE award.
The 70-year-old mum-of-two and grandmother-of-four shared her thoughts with HM, Queen Elizabeth II when the monarch asked her the question at an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle, on Tuesday, April 15.
Molly was awarded her MBE in the New Year Honours list, for services to the Gibbonsdown community.
She was accompanied, on her royal occasion, by proud daughter 42-year-old Karen Conway and granddaughter Rebecca Conway, 22.
They were joined at the ceremony by 69 other similarly honoured people from all walks of life who stood alongside Murder She Wrote actor Dame Angela Lansbury, sculptor Sir Antony Gormley and Sir Julian Seymour, who previously worked for Lady Thatcher.
The former Gladstone and Holton Road school pupil has been chairwoman of the Gibbonsdown Residents’ association since 1985 and has been instrumental in helping to improve both economic and social conditions in the Communities First area.
Molly, with residents association, helped bring the basketball and skate park at Pencoedtre Park and the Treetops wooden park for use by local children.
One of the first litter picks she organised saw more than 80 tonnes over the normal refuse amount collected.
She also claimed a campaigned victory in helping to keep the housing stock in Vale Council control rather than a private social housing landlord take it on.
Retired youth worker, Molly said: “The Queen said: “How long have you been doing this?” I said: “Approximately 33 years, your majesty.” I said it was difficult because council’s are not forward thinking and she said: “Well done”.”
Being in pain, Molly and her family were treated royally by member of Tony who chauffeured her and them in a buggy in time to collect the award and Molly said she was amazed by the surroundings she saw and her family even savoured three strawberry cakes, from a local shop, costing a gobsmacking £14.
She said: “There was a portrait of Charles I as big as the wall. It was all carpeted and there were lots of attendants everywhere, many suited gents and there were lots of cameras around. The grass was like velvet – it was absolutely stunning – with all the big urns. Karen said: “You are being treated like royalty today.” They were all really nice.”
But the occasion had a memorable effect.
She said: “I felt like I was in a world of my own. It was an odd feeling – really strange. Before you get to the Queen you are asked your name at least 15 times.
“The Queen was amazing. She’s a grand lady and I think we should all be proud of her.
“It was a real experience – one I doubt I’ll see again in my lifetime – an experience and an honour.
“Without the people of Gibbonsdown I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’ve done. I have definitely been an old bugger. I can’t let go. The Splashpad wasn’t an achievement - it was tick the box, carry on. I was described as a Rottweiler once. They said once you get your teeth into something you don’t let go.”
She added: “I’d like to thank everyone for their cards of congratulations and the lovely bouquets I’ve received and Colin Jones for nominating me and those who did the sponsoring letters.
“It was an experience to see how the other half live.”
Any volunteers who would like to assist the Gibbonsdown Residents’ Association can call 01446 720736.