Exmouth women reveal delight at making honours list

TWO Exmouth women have been honoured with MBEs.

Janet Howitt, 72, of Littlemead Lane, has been rewarded with an Order of the British Empire in recognition for her work with the visually impaired.

Joy Williams, 81, of Bicton Street, will also make a trip to Buckingham Palace to receive an award in honour of her work at the Devon Gardens Trust, encouraging children to take up gardening.

Joy said: “I was absolutely delighted when I heard the news about the award. It’s a fabulous way to start the New Year!”

In being named in the honour’s list, the 81-year-old has continued a family tradition after her dad and brother picked up an MBE and OBE, respectively.

Joy was previously chairman of Devon Gardens Trust and chairman of the education and events committee.

The trust, an active charity, aims to promote the education of the public on matters connected with the arts and sciences of garden land.

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A special statement on its website reads: “All of us send congratulations to our much-loved past chairman, with our very best wishes and thanks for her services to the DGT over so many years.”

Fellow Exmothian Janet Howitt, was rewarded with an MBE for services to East Devon Audio Description Service for the blind and partially-sighted.

Her thrilled son, Martin Howitt, said: “I am proud and honoured to be her son and I couldn’t have had a better mother, friend and role model.

“She worked all her life as a speech therapist. This is not the same thing as elocution lessons, teaching people how to speak properly. She was a mechanic to the voice boxes of people with serious speech impediments.

“The job calls for the fusion of science, art and care. Speech is a highly technical thing, and sufferers often lose confidence along with their voices.”

Janet helped set up the Exeter Aphasia Self Help Group, which assists stroke victims at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

She is also a member of the Exmouth Talking Newspaper which helps more than 100 people keep up with the news.

Martin added: “My mum worked to rebuild the confidence of her patients as well as their speech: many of them went on to become her friends.

“This award reflects a whole lifetime of service to people who really needed it.”