“An extremely special day” was how Peter Smith described his visit to Buckingham Palace for his Investiture as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Peter was accompanied by his wife Tina and his two sons Darrel and Adam. Arriving at the Palace, he was allowed to park his car inside the grounds after passing a thorough security check by some very pleasant police officers. Recipients and guests entered the palace via the grand staircase and mingled in the Picture Gallery amid paintings by Rembrandt, Renoir, Canaletto and a host of other famous artists.
Guests were then escorted to their seats in the ballroom whilst recipients were briefed by the controller who did his best to calm the nerves of all present. The 92 recipients filed along a corridor adjacent to the ballroom from which could be heard the playing of the orchestra drawn from the Bands of the Household Division.
“The nerves returned upon receiving the signal to enter,” said Peter. “I heard the Lord Chamberlain, The Right Honourable The Earl Peel, announce ‘Peter Smith OBE for services to Mountain Rescue’.”
In particular this relates to his long involvement with Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team, based in Mytholmroyd, and latterly as National Secretary.
“I felt immensely proud when Her Majesty presented the medal,” Peter said.
He recalled the Queen saying “people do the silliest of things” to which he responded “most incidents involve people who are generally competent but, on a certain day, require a bit of help and the Mountain Rescue teams are happy to provide such help.
“A member of staff indicated that it was time to bow and move away, whereupon I was able to relax,” said Peter.
Recipients were then seated to witness the remainder of the ceremony before being re-united with their guests.
Outside in the quadrangle everyone chatted prior to departing for various celebrations.
“The whole event was managed with precision and the staff made it clear that they were happy to ensure perfection on this memorable occasion. As always Her Majesty was wonderful,” said Peter.