Pamela Twissell-Cross had never imagined her life would take such a turn after retiring to Spain.
After a long career saving lives in the NHS, life in Spain was missing one important element – the need to continue helping others.
Following a decade of voluntary work with the Royal British Legion, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, for services to British nationals overseas.
Pamela became involved with the Royal British Legion as a welfare volunteer caseworker in 2011, becoming District Community Support Coordinator three years later.
Despite the role being voluntary, the satisfaction gained from the job made it almost full time.
Pamela became involved with coordinating all the welfare work for an area stretching from the Spanish border with France down to Almeria.
As if that wasn’t enough, she also took on responsibility for a similar role in the Balearic Islands.
Pamela works tirelessly in her efforts to find men and women that would benefit from the Royal British Legion’s help and support.
Once found, she ensures relevant and specific help is provided for those beneficiaries.
By 2020, Pamela and her team assisted an incredible 569 people throughout Spain.
Pamela told the Olive Press: “I feel very honoured to be nominated for this honour, let alone chosen.”
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott said: “As with most voluntary organisations, the COVID-19 pandemic has added to the RBL’s workload and, as their Patron in Spain, I know how busy Pamela has been over the past two years, managing and supporting an increasing number of calls to the helpline.”
“Yet, despite the volume of work, Pamela treats each beneficiary as an individual, showing seemingly endless compassion and care. She is also a tremendous help to our consulate in Alicante, providing a level of support to prisoners, and welfare and hospitalisation cases, which we would not be able to offer alone. This honour is very richly deserved.”
She received the news from the British Ambassador by telephone, thinking it was a joke.
“We’d been talking about routine business and going through some figures,” explained Pam, “and then, very matter-of-fact, Hugh asked if I’d mind getting an MBE!”
“It was a complete surprise and probably the most wonderful surprise I have ever had. I do wish my parents were still here to see it.”
“I felt so privileged and excited because I do the work to give back to the community for the wonderful life I have had – I never expected anything in return.”
“However,” she continued, “It would be impossible to achieve anything without the amazing team around me, especially the caseworkers who support beneficiaries in so many ways and I cannot thank them enough for their support, ideas and trust.”
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