When Agnes Whyte first heard she’d been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List, she thought there must have been a mistake.
But now the accolade is about to become only too real for the modest Leven mum of three as she packs her finery and heads for Buckingham Palace to collect her ‘gong’.
Accompanied by husband Kenneth and daughters Audrey and Lisa, Agnes will come face-to-face with Royalty as she is honoured for her tireless work as chairman of Breathe Easy Kirkcaldy, a support arm of the British Lung Foundation.
She’s raised more than £46,000 for the Foundation over the years and was instrumental in the campaign to have smoking banned in cars where there are children.
Agnes also works closely with the senior charge nurse in Fife’s only acute respiratory unit at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital, who described her as ‘truly remarkable’.
She ensures patients who make regular visits to hospital due to their illness can be admitted directly to the specialist respiratory ward so they can get treatment as early as possible.
And she’s a member of various boards as a spokesperson for patients to ensure that their issues are addressed and that respiratory health is at the forefront when looking at funding and best practice in both primary and secondary care.
Agnes, who spent three years in and out of hospital with a lung condition, says she’s ‘excited but nervous’ about her big day on Friday.
“We don’t know yet who’ll be presenting the awards but I hope it’s the Queen herself,” she told the East Fife Mail.
“The icing on the cake would be if Andy Murray was to receive his knighthood on the same day.
“He hasn’t been given it yet, and this must be the last ceremony before the Birthday Honours are announced, so there’s every chance!”
Agnes started Breathe Easy around 13 years ago with just four members and there are now over 100.
She was nominated for her MBE by the group and she says they’re thrilled on her behalf.
“It’s a huge boost for them,” she said.
“People with a lung condition may not look disabled on the outside, but it is a disability that can have a huge impact on them and their families. “It’s important for them to know that there are people out there who know what they’re going through.”
Said Agnes’ eldest daughter Audrey: “She is an amazing, determined woman who always puts others first. We are so proud of her.”