MBE Investiture at Buckingham Palace 17th Oct 2018 & Soup Kitchen Managers UK Tour


In May 2018 I was contacted by the British Ambassador in Beijing, Dame Barbara Woodward, who informed me that in the 2018 Queens Birthday Honours list I was to be nominated for an MBE for services to the homeless and underprivileged in China, I later discovered that it was the British Embassy in Beijing that had nominated me. She then went on to ask if would I be willing to accept it, but the call was so unexpected that I think I was just in shock and so I asked if I could take some time to think about it, she was extremely gracious and wasn't offended in the slightest but instead took the time to explain what the award meant and why some people may choose not to accept it, and furthermore that I could take as long as I needed to respond. I said that I just needed 24 hours and that I would call back the following day. I felt that I may seem to be ungrateful to be nominated which of course wasn't my intention, but I was just caught completely off guard and needed time to catch my breath, It felt like there may have been some kind of mistake and I expected at any moment to be told so, in fact it wasn’t until after the ceremony that I actually believed that they felt that they had got the right guy. So having mulled it over I called back the following day I told her that I was very glad to accept the award.

When I took the time out to consider what the Ambassador had said to me I felt embarrassed to be nominated and undeserving as the Soup Kitchen has never been about any one person, it has always been a team effort, a collective, all that we have achieved has been the result of the combined energies of so many people. In fact to date we have had over 13,000 volunteers and at any one time we usually have around 10 unpaid volunteer managers who have all been amazing and given so much. Without everybody's efforts none of this would have been possible and it certainly wasn't all down to me, as without the volunteers the Yellow River Soup Kitchen would not exist. So it didn't feel right that I would go and accept this award just for myself and "take the glory" for everybody else's efforts. My rational eventually arrived at the point that this MBE was to reward everybody's immense efforts and recognition for the organisation itself and to not accept it would also have been an injustice, so to go and accept it on behalf of all the volunteers and the organisation felt much more comfortable, very right and the way it should be.

When the time eventually came seven of the Soup Kitchen managers took time off work, paid for their own flights and all travel expenses and came to the UK with me for the Investiture at Buckingham Palace and we all accepted it together, from my perspective being able to receive the award as a collective was the perfect outcome and as such it was then an honour and a privilege and I was so proud to receive the MBE for every single person that had contributed over the previous 13 years of our existence. On the day of the Investiture several friends and relatives also attended from all over the UK, in total we were over twenty people, and after the ceremony we all went and had a celebratory chinese lunch together. The Investiture was a wonderful day spent with family and friends from both the East and West, it was such an honour to be a part of the whole event, so a massive thank you to every last one of you that took the time to head to London on a school day and make it the most special and memorable of occasions.

The Soup Kitchen mangers remained in the UK for two weeks so I took them on a mini tour of the UK as most of them had never visited the UK before and for several of them this was the first time out of China. We firstly visited London and amongst the many wonderful sites I also took them to see the Phantom of the Opera which everybody thoroughly enjoyed, Stonehenge, Glastonbury, Fleetwood as they wanted to meet my parents and see where they live, Windermere in the Lake District and finally visiting Stratford-upon-Avon before returning to China. We all had an wonderful trip and below are just a sample of a few of the photos.

I left the Uk in 2003 and and have been away nearly 17 years during which time I have had the most amazing journey and as I write this almost 15 of those years have been spent in China. It is difficult to find the words to describe even just a little, all the joys I have experienced throughout this period, wonderful moments, the people and the places, and yes of course there have been many challenges too, but during it all I have learnt and grown so much. I still have much to learn, and there will undoubtedly be further challenges too but since the day that I made the decision to sell everything and leave the UK, without a vision or a plan, there has never been a moment of doubt or regret or a feeling that this was not the best decision that I had ever made, my life has so much more colour and love now than it ever had. Before leaving when I had the idea to put this website together the name for the site Destiny Tour came through which for no reason just felt appropriate, at the time I had no way of knowing what might lie ahead and whether there was in fact such a thing as destiny, but having lived through the past 17 years I feel that if there is something akin to destiny then perhaps this journey, all that I have encountered and the changes that I have gone through may well be what it would look like. I feel totally blessed and am eternally grateful every single day for every experience that I have been gifted whether that experience could be considered good or a bad, I wish you all well and for those of you with whom our paths have crossed along the way, I sincerely thank you.

Here are just a few of the Soup Kitchens achievements since we began in 2005:

* Total of 2,215 projects over first 13 years
* Served around 164,000 meals since our inception
* Delivered aid to approx. 60,000 people in rural mountain villages
* Delivered over 112 wheelchairs to the elderly and disabled
* Weekly provide free medical care and arranged treatments or operations for over 20 homeless people
* Supplied & fitted 12 prosthetic limbs
* Helped over 90 homeless people find work & street children return home
* Repaired a rural village school
* Regularly run children's sports days in rural mountain villages, orphanages and have arranged several children’s city visits
* Over 13,000 volunteers have joined our projects

Should you wish to know a little more of the work of The Yellow River Soup Kitchen click here



Ceremony3 Ceremony5

The Soup Kitchen Managers UK Trip


Video of the managers trip, 3 mins

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