A Sanderstead mum who started volunteering for the Mothers' Union in her village church has risen through the Christian organisation to be appointed a CBE.
Rosemary Kempsell, 70, began her work with the international charity at All Saints' Church 35 years ago when she was a mum with two young children.
The All Saints Drive resident then moved to the organisation's central branch in London and began pioneering several different projects.
Last Thursday (May 1), she received the insignia of the CBE from Princess Annefor her services to family life in the UK and abroad.
"It was a really wonderful day," she said. "The Princess Royal engaged with everyone and she really wanted to know about the work of the Mothers' Union. We were made to feel very welcome and honoured."
Mrs Kempsell was the Worldwide President of the Mothers' Union for six years, having been chosen from a group of three in 2007.
"The reason I won the award was because I spearheaded getting overseas people onto our central trustee board," she explained.
"There are more than four million members worldwide and at the time, there was not a single person not from the UK on the board."
She said she was proud that the board – made up of 16 people plus the presidents – now had five overseas members, reflecting the diversity of the organisation.
Mrs Kempsell said she was "surprised and delighted" with the CBE.
"It is wonderful to see the way that the work of Mothers' Union is being recognised, and that is reflected in this award.
"While we are building on the past, Mothers' Union is today an organisation that is forward looking. I've been so warmed by the messages of support from all over the world."
One of Mrs Kempsell's outreach projects was to improve adult literacy in developing countries, most recently in Uganda.
"I have been to many countries in Africa and across the world with our projects," she said.
She also ran a parenting programme in the UK and worldwide to give mothers and fathers crucial skills when they were struggling.
The charity delivers its projects through a Christian ethos, encouraging parents to develop the faith of their children, promote married life and support families facing adversity.
Rosemary is still an active member of the Mothers' Union and is now a grandmother of twins.