A former Hassocks resident has a received a joint MBE with her husband for her remarkable work helping vulnerable families in Africa.
Hilary Mackenzie (nee White) received an MBE at Buckingham Palace this month, together with her husband Rob in recognition of their services to “the disadvantaged and to the community in Zimbabwe”.
Hilary was born and brought up in Hassocks and attended Hove County Grammar School for Girls, which became Hove Park School.
She left to obtain her nursing and paediatric qualifications at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and married Rob in 1991.
The couple lived in Hassocks for a while before leaving the UK in 1992 to become missionaries.
Out in Zimbabwe, Hilary and Rob care for more than 200 families and orphans in their community, by supplying food, clothing, medical aid and schooling.
Up to twenty-four children are cared for in an orphanage on their farm and Hilary and Rob have been able to make a real difference to their lives.
Hilary said: “Twenty-one years ago we formed New Growth Ministries, caring for widows, orphans and vulnerable children in a children’s home and community care programme.
“Despite the many trials and challenges, we have been privileged to see some of the children in our care, who would have otherwise continued as homeless, succeed.
“One is now a senior accountant, another a medical doctor with honours, as well as a third studying to become a lawyer.
“Many have also been through our vocational training projects becoming artisans. More than 1000 clients and children have been through our care.
Rob said “Each child has a fascinating story of how God has brought them to us, and it is our joy to teach them how special, unique and valuable they are.
“It is lovely to see some of our first children now leading and mentoring the younger ones.”
Hilary added: “It was an honour for my husband and I to be awarded our MBEs at Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty the Queen.
“We have two sons, Mark and James, who were with us to receive our award. My parents, who still live in Hassocks, were also with us.
Hilary’s parents, Dr Martin White and his wife Beryl, live in Wilmington Close and they are pictured with Hilary and Rob after the ceremony.
It is very rare for a couple to be awarded MBEs individually at the same time.