FORMER Mayor of Harrow Councillor Lurline Champagnie went to Buckingham Palace earlier this month to receive her New Year's Honour from the Queen.
Mrs Champagnie, who once ran in the contest to find the Conservative candidate for the Mayor of London, was made an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) for her services to local government and diversity.
She has represented Pinner ward on Harrow Council since 1986 and was Mayor of Harrow in 2004/5, as well as being a member of the Government
Equalities Office's black and ethnic minority taskforce during 2008/9.
Inspired by a trip to a children's hospice in South Africa five years ago, she set up in December a charity called Reach Out Africa to support schemes in that continent.
Mrs Champagnie said: "This is obviously a fantastic privilege and I'm deeply humbled to receive an OBE.
"I didn't get into politics to receive honours or recognition; as a nurse by profession, my first concern has always been looking after and supporting people.
"And I'm certainly proud of the fact that I have tried to spend so much of my time as a councillor doing exactly that.
"My mayoral year is a real highlight of my career in politics. I set a new benchmark for attending community events that my successors have emulated, and I was also honoured to be Harrow's first black mayor.
"In fact, when I collected my award, Her Majesty and I spoke for several minutes because she remembered meeting me during my mayoral year."