Milliners come to Ruth’s rescue day before ceremony

Ruth O'Keeffe MBE SUS-160323-113225001
Ruth O'Keeffe MBE SUS-160323-113225001

Her Majesty The Queen presented Councillor Ruth O’Keeffe with an MBE for services to the community in Lewes this week.

The town, district and county councillor travelled to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday (March 22) to be presented with the honour at an Investiture ceremony .

Cllr O’Keeffe MBE said: “It was a great honour to be recognised in this way for my work in Lewes and I am greatly indebted to my friends and family over the years for all their support without which I could never have achieved this.”

Cllr O’Keeffe MBE endured a last-minute panic the day before the presentation was due to take place, as the hat she ordered had not arrived.

Thankfully, Lomax and Skinner, Lewes bespoke Milliners, came to the rescue.

Cllr O’Keeffe MBE said: “The hat I ordered still hadn’t arrived on Monday, so I had a mad dash to find one.

“Thankfully, the very kind people at Lomax and Skinner saved the day and found me a beautiful hat with only a day to go before the ceremony.

“The hat I wore when I met The Queen before was from Lomax and Skinner, so I knew they were the perfect people to help me this time.”

On the same day as Cllr O’Keeffe MBE’s visit to Buckingham Palace, Dame Barbara Windsor became a Dame Commander of the British Empire, for services to charity and entertainment.

Cllr O’Keeffe MBE said: “My group that was going up to receive awards met her in the corridor after she had received her award and was talking to a reporter, and she was very friendly to us all, wishing us luck and chatting to us while we were waiting.

“We were a group of 12 women and ONE man, all receiving MBEs and she said ‘good for you girls!’ when she saw us lined up.

“The actor James Nesbitt was also receiving an OBE for services to Drama and to the community in Northern Ireland, and there was an incredibly brave young woman in the line up with me who was receiving her MBE for nursing services to Ebola victims in West Africa. Miss Katie Gatward.”

Cllr O’Keeffe MBE was awarded the honour for services to the community in Lewes, which includes work with the Lewes Little Garden, When Skies Were Always Blue, LACEWINGS and a Sunday bus service for the elderly and disabled. She was also recognised for her service as a councillor for Lewes since 1999.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at

2) Like our Facebook page at

3) Follow us on Twitter @sussex_express

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Sussex Express - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.