Charity worker’s delight at being made an MBE
A Long Melford man, who has dedicated more then 30 years to raising money for a blood cancer charity, has become an MBE.
Richard Delderfield has volunteered for Bloodwise since losing his teenage son, Paul, to leukaemia in 1985.
He was made an MBE – accepting the honour from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace – for services to the charity.
Mr Delderfield, 74, who is honorary president of the national charity, was a member of its board of trustees for more than 20 years and served as its vice-chairman between 2007 and 2013, as well as acting as chairman for a time.
Raised in Essex, Mr Delderfield lost his mother to leukaemia when she was 42. His son was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in October, 1984.
Despite intensive treatment, the disease returned and Paul died the following year, aged 17.
Mr Delderfield was accompanied to Buckingham Palace on Thursday by his wife, Angela, their daughter, Lucy – who had flown over from her home in Australia for the occasion, and Cathy Gilman, the chief executive of Bloodwise during Richard’s time as vice-chairman, who had championed his nomination for the award.
Mr Delderfield said: “It is the strangest of feelings, a bit like going for an important job interview, or those days and hours before you get married, but with a great deal more humility.
“Nothing can prepare you for the grandness of everything inside the palace.
“We were called out in groups of about 15 and led through long impressive rooms to the edge of the ballroom.
“When Prince Charles asked me how much money had been raised and how much progress had been made, my response to the latter was: ‘Sir, how much time do you have?’ I went on to say: “I know that my son Paul’s death was not in vain.’”
“My abiding memory of the day has to be the dozens of staff, from policemen to the guard’s officer guiding you to the dais.
“Everyone spoke with kindness, congratulations and made you feel an important and individual part of the day – you could almost have been the only person getting an award that day.
“Thirty-two years ago, our son Paul died of acute myeloid leukaemia. He would have been the proudest of sons to have been at the palace.”
Mr and Mrs Delderfield lived in Thorncombe, Dorset, until 2013, before moving to Theobald’s Close in Long Melford.