Paralympic sailing gold medallist Helena Lucas admitted to being ‘humbled and honoured’ on receiving her MBE at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday (12 March).
The Redhill-born sailor was crowned London 2012 champion in the 2.4mR class at Weymouth and Portland last September, claiming an emphatic victory to become Britain’s first medallist since sailing joined the full Paralympic Games programme in 2000.
Speaking after the ceremony, Lucas said: “It really was the icing on the cake after such an amazing year.
“I’m so honoured to have received this award for doing the sport that I love. There were so many other amazing people in the room with me from all walks of life, who were so driven, have made great sacrifices and have worked so hard for their country. It was really quite humbling.”
The 37-year-old was awarded her MBE by HRH The Princess Royal, also President of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), and attended alongside other key figures from London 2012. LOCOG CEO Lord Deighton was made a knight commander, while equestrian Olympians and Paralympians Mary King, Deborah Criddle and Sophie Wells, and Paralympic gold medal-winning swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate were also made MBEs.
Other well-known names in attendance included choirmaster and broadcaster Gareth Malone, awarded an OBE, and fashion expert Caryn Franklin who received an MBE.
Skandia Team GBR’s Lucas was accompanied to the investiture by her husband Steve Thomas (pictured above) and her parents Val and Geoff.
“It was so nice to have been able to share the day with them, as they’ve all been so brilliant and supportive throughout my career. All the tradition and ceremony around the day made it really special for all of us.”
She continued: “There’s still so much excitement around London 2012. People are still so excited about wanting to see my gold medal.
“The Games were six months ago now, which seems like ages ago to me, but people still remember it as a really big thing and just goes to show the effect it had and that the legacy is working.”