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Two honoured by UK Queen

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A young girl at a M’Lop Tapang centre in Sihanoukville earlier this year.

Two United Kingdom nationals with ties to Cambodia were honoured by the British Queen yesterday in her annual birthday honours list.

Mark Gooding, who will replace Andrew Mace in September as the UK’s ambassador to Cambodia, was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a statement from the British embassy said on Saturday.

Maggie Eno was also recognised, achieving the prestigious title of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her work with M’Lop Tapang, or “Under the Tree”, an organisation she helped found in 2003.

The Sihanoukville-based organisation supports “at risk” street kids and youths by providing food, shelter, medical care and education.

“We are trying to help these children become more independent members of society,” Eno said yesterday.

Eno said she had received notice of the award three weeks ago but was sworn to secrecy until the release of the official list. “I was shocked to get it,” she said. “I didn’t expect to be awarded for something I love doing.”  

Eno said the award should also recognise the 160 Cambodians and two other foreign staff at M’Lop Tapang.

She plans to return to England to receive the award and visit her family.

The award, established in 1917 by King George V, inducts one into the order of chivalry and “recognises distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service, and work with charitable and welfare organisations of all kinds”, according to the official website of the British Monarchy.

It was the first award for chivalry given to women. Foreigners may also receive it for service to the UK. The motto of the order, which has 100,000 living members, is “For God and the Empire”.

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