AVRIL SPRIGGS, who jointly founded the original Basildon Gymnastics Club which eventually became South Essex Gymnastics Club, has spoken warmly about being appointed MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.
Mrs Spriggs, who set up the popular community club alongside a fellow primary school teacher David Eagling in 1969, was given the honour for her services to gymnastics by Prince Charles in the lavish ballroom at Buckingham Palace.
Mrs Spriggs said: “My turn came and I had to walk forward, turn to face the Prince, curtsey and take a few steps forward to reach the foot of his podium.
“He slotted the medal into a little fitting that had already been put on my jacket – these guys think of everything!
“We had a little chat and he got it all wrong and said he was sure I had been a wonderful gymnast so I just had to put him right by saying, ‘Well actually no I wasn’t, your Royal Highness – but I was a pretty good judge!’.”
Afterwards Mrs Spriggs, who lives in Basildon, capped her a magical day by enjoying a special lunch with her family at Gordon Ramsey’s exclusive restaurant in London.