Charity marathon runner Derek Haines and Cayman HospiceCare medical director Dr. Virginia Hobday received their MBE awards from Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.
The Cayman Islands residents were among 87 people from across the U.K. and British Overseas Territories to be honored at the event.
Mr. Haines said it was a “humbling” experience to be appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
The former police officer, who ran six marathons in 12 months to raise more than $1 million for a new hospice, said it was a privilege to receive his award alongside Dr. Hobday.
While Mr. Haines may have made headlines for his charity exploits, he said it was the work of people like Dr. Hobday that made the biggest difference in people’s lives.
Both Dr. Hobday and Mr. Haines had family in attendance for the ceremony. Mr. Haines’s daughter traveled from Australia to see him receive the award.
“It was quite emotional, really. We got together afterwards for a little celebration. It was a wonderful day,” Mr. Haines said.
He said Prince William questioned them about life in the Cayman Islands and told Dr. Hobday about his wife the Duchess of Cambridge’s support for hospice organizations.
He said it was particularly humbling to meet some of the other recipients, including the chief medical officer of the British army who was recognized for his work fighting the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.
“They were so interesting and so deserving that when I think of myself running marathons to raise a few dollars for charity, it puts that in the shade really. It was outstanding to be in their company on a day like today,” he added.
Mr. Haines added that Prince William spent a few minutes with each of the awardees.
“When he found out how old I was, he was concerned about my knees,” he said.
But the 67-year-old has no plans to hang up his running shoes just yet. He is trying to raise another $50,000, this time for the Cayman Islands Special Needs Foundation, by running the Cayman marathon in December.
Danielle Coleman of Cayman HospiceCare said the organization is “tremendously grateful” for the work of both Mr. Haines and Dr. Hobday.
“We would like to sincerely thank this amazing duo for all the wonderful things they have done and continue to do for Cayman HospiceCare. We can’t think of two more deserving people to be awarded an MBE,” she said.