THE founder of Peebles Orchestra has told of her ‘amazing day’ at Buckingham Palace collecting her MBE from the Queen.

Claire Garnett, from Peebles, was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) last week for services to music in the community in the Borders.

Claire told the Peeblesshire News: “It was an amazing day. The red and gold ballroom at Buckingham Palace is a breathtakingly ‘royal’ setting with pageantry and music to suit.

“Though the Queen, herself, is so simple and approachable. She asked me, ‘What exactly is it you do?’ and I told her about Peebles Orchestra, Peebles Players music group for people with disability and music for dementia in care homes.

“‘How wonderful!’ she said, ‘Music is such a great healer isn’t it?’, I won’t forget her lovely smile.

“I feel so honoured to have this award after over 40 years of doing what I love in our community and even more to have Her Majesty present it.”

Since its inception in 1976, Peebles Orchestra has played an important part in the cultural life of the area.

The community group is a chamber orchestra with strings, double woodwind, horns and trumpets.

The orchestra usually presents two symphony concerts each season – one in late Autumn and the other in the Spring.

The concerts are usually held in the Eastgate Theatre or in Peebles’ Leckie Memorial Church.

An extra concert is sometimes put on in the winter, such as a Viennese Evening or a Carol Concert at Christmas.

The work of the orchestra has long been supported by a group of friends and sponsors who have ensured that live orchestral music-making remains a focus of the cultural life of the community.

In June, Claire was revealed as one of five Borderers to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Brian Evans from St Boswells, Mary Brownlie from Broughton and Margaret Driscoll from Eyemouth have been awarded British Empire Medals, and Kathleen Mason, also from Peebles, has been awarded an MVO.