A City Council employee and long-standing community champion has been presented with an MBE by Prince William at a Buckingham House ceremony.

Celia Knight, the council’s current Neighbourhood Development Officer in Bulwell Forest, received the honour after spending 40 years working to improve the lives of others.

Born in Northamptonshire, she came to Nottingham to attend Nottingham University, where she received her degree in Social Administration. After university, Celia moved away to help people in other parts of the world, including working with Community Service Volunteers in Belfast.

She then gained postgraduate community work qualifications and community work experience in Swansea. In the early 1980s she worked with Vietnamese refugees who had been placed in a resettlement camp prior to finding permanent accommodation elsewhere in the country.

She then came back to Nottingham to work as a community development worker with Nottingham Community Project, first on Broxtowe estate and then in Sneinton supporting the tenants and residents associations and other community groups. Then for the next 18 years she managed the Volunteer Bureau, responsible for recruiting and supporting volunteers for a range of local organisations.

In January 2005, Celia Joined Nottingham City Council, initially as a community development worker in Bilborough and worked with various community groups. She then moved to become a neighbourhood action officer in Bulwell Forest Ward around ten years ago, working with local councillors and partner agencies to address issues raised by residents and help to support community initiatives.  These include everything from dog fouling, litter and potholes, to drug activity,  homelessness, dangerous structures and problems caused by derelict sites. The role also includes organising community events such as Southglade Parklive and administering the small grants provided by councillors to local community groups.

She was named in the Queen’s Birthday  Honours list and received her Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal on Wednesday 7 November, presented by Prince William at Buckingham Palace.

She said: “It was a privilege to meet so many people at Buckingham Palace who are involved in their communities both here and abroad and to have the opportunity find out about the amazing work they are doing.

“I want to thank everyone who nominated me and all the people both paid and unpaid who work with me and who have contributed to me receiving the MBE.  Your pleasure in me receiving this award has meant a lot to me.”

Cllr Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “Celia is a prime example of someone in public service who carries out her duties with dedication – going above and beyond her role and having a positive impact on people’s lives and the communities that she serves. I’m pleased for her that her contribution has been recognised in this way, and her MBE is thoroughly deserved.”