A day at the Palace

Well, against the odds, I made it to collect my OBE last Friday. It wasn’t until Friday morning that I could be certain I was going to make it. But thanks to the help of a lot of people and some mind over matter, I felt good. The palliative care team here pulled out all the stops to get me there, including organising back-up in London should I require it. Though not needed, it was good to know it was there.  My friends in London, Jane, Jen and Steve, did everything to make thing run smoothly, and of course Jane, Emma and Alex did all they needed to get the old man there! The Palace had organised a wheel-chair and support should I require it – as it was, I was able to walk the whole thing – more walking than I done for weeks before – and since! And on top of that the sun shone all day.

The organisation of the event was extraordinary. The upper-classes were out in force with that easy charm they can do so well. They made us feel very special, carrying out their tasks with efficiency and humour, whilst also making everything run on time with military precision. The number of staff on duty was astonishing – if it had been any other public service there’d have been a lot of tut-tutting about over-staffing! Charles was the medal-pinner, and I was able to have a brief chat with him about tenant management! As a family we had great fun, hopefully combining respect for the occasion with more than a hint of irreverence.


There was of course a price to pay. I was wiped out on Saturday, and I’ve never felt as exhausted in my life as when we arrived home in Leeds on Saturday evening after a difficult train journey home. But there was an uplifting surprise pinned to our door – a beautifully made ‘armorial bearing’ based on what I’d said in my February blog (‘A new phase…with a gong’). As yet I don’t know who did it: prime suspect number one has now been ruled out. So whoever it was (and please do let me know) I just want to say how magnificent it is, beautifully conceived and constructed. You’ve got the job!


Since then I’ve not had a great week. I have good days and bad days, and often good half-days and bad half-days. We’re still trying to get the right balance of medication, and my energy levels have dropped with my weight. The care services continue to be excellent, doing all they can to make me as comfortable as possible. Each new stage takes a little while to come to terms with it. I feel I’m there with this current stage, and with the continuing wonderful support from family, friends and the services I’m feeling calm and ready to face what  comes next. My last blog generated a lot of comments on the blog, e-mails, tweets, cards, texts and other messages. Thanks for these – they mean a lot to me and remind me of what a wonderful supportive wider community I belong to.




About Richard Crossley

Resident of Headingley in Leeds. Community activist. Soul fed by mountains and the Yorkshire Dales. Follow football and cricket. Career in community development and social housing - cut short in early 2013 by cancer diagnosis.
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11 Responses to A day at the Palace

  1. Paul Lusk says:

    Thanks Richard – a wonderful account of the occasion. Your OBE is richly deserved and, I hope, comes with just a hint of apology at what happened to you in 2010. And congratulations to the creator of the ‘armorial bearing.’

  2. Chris Foren says:

    Nice hat, Jane. You’re not about to join the Tories are you?

  3. Jenny and John says:

    Hi Richard – Have you chosen which of the suggested mottos should adorn your shield? Glad you enjoyed the event.
    Love J&J xxx

  4. Cath Stone says:

    I’m so glad the day went well and the sun shone, sorry to hear it wiped you so much ….but you did it!!The photos are good – everyone looks fab.
    The armorial is ‘genius’ 😊
    Bye for nowLove Cath x

    Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2014 11:30:37 +0000
    To: cathstone123@hotmail.com

  5. rafisaville says:

    I’m so thrilled you made it to London to receive your honour . I still think about when I heard you speak at the EPP reunion and how you managed to inspire me ! And inspire me you bloody did !!! I got off my ass and the things I’ve done since that day I heard you speak ! Things I was putting off until I was better but deep down knowing I wouldn’t get any better . So I’m doing them all now 🙂 so thank you thank you and thank you ! Your stories of your travels and the thighs you have done got me thinking and thinking . So now j have plans to climb a mountain, well maybe get pulled up a mountain 🙂 and too see the places I’ve dreamt of seeing. After I heard you talk that day I had a thought ! So I set up a group for adults living with chronic pain , not the normal type of group that sits and moans the only conversations are about morphine dosages and the next operation ? But a group that inspires people to grasp the pain try and put it aside and keep it aside whilst they live their dreams . So you see a 20 minute little presentation by changed my life 🙂 what more can I say except your a great man and thank you . Maybe in a few years I can stand up in front of the group and talk about how I climbed a mountain ! I hope so xxx Danny

  6. Liz says:

    Great to hear that you got to the palace and that the day went well. The photos are brilliant and will be a reminder in days to come of your achievements. Hoping and praying that you will keep having some ‘strong’ days amongst all the hard and tiring ones. Lots of Love, Liz x

  7. Liz Jeffery says:

    Fantastic that you not only made it for the gong but also that the day went as well as it did. I’m so delighted for you and your family. Wonderful photos and a great account of the day too. Thank you again. And hoping that you’re finding more to enjoy as the spring progresses….I wonder too if you’ve found out who made your wonderful ‘armourial bearing’ yet?
    Much love Liz J x

  8. Judy Davies says:

    So glad you made it to the Palace…what a feat well done you…and that you enjoyed. Good to hear of the day and see the photos…you all look great!! I can imagine the irreverance and smile at the thought! Also liked the amourial bearing. Just want to send much love and support to you all…my thoughts are with you. Judy x x

  9. Sarah Lerner says:

    Great to see you made it Richard… and Jane certainly looks elegant in that hat… and I can see the likenesses between you both and your kids.. who I haven’t seen since Bob’s wedding…

    Love to you all


  10. Sally Bavage says:

    Glad you made it – and that I found your blog! What a lovely family occasion

  11. Richard –

    I’m so delighted that you made it to the Palace. It is such a wonderful day (mine was in Feb) and it is both right and proper that your work is recognised in this way.
    I also had a quick word with Charles about tenant management – he’ll be starting to get the message soon, I hope!
    Glad the weather was better for you than for me!

    thinking of you


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