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Prime Minister praises the Pearly Queen of Hackney

The Pearly Queen of Hackney, Jackie Murphy, for The Big Read. The Pearly Queen of Hackney, Jackie Murphy, for The Big Read.

Monday, August 4, 2014
1:46 PM

The Pearly Queen of Hackney has been praised by Prime Minister David Cameron for the years hard work she has devoted to raising money for charity.

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Danny's uncles, Pearly Prince Bill Hitchen (left), Pearly King of the City of London George Hitchen (centre), and Pearly King of Westminster Fred Hitchen display their suits in the 1930s.Danny's uncles, Pearly Prince Bill Hitchen (left), Pearly King of the City of London George Hitchen (centre), and Pearly King of Westminster Fred Hitchen display their suits in the 1930s.

Jackie Murphy received a Point of Light award on Friday, to congratulate her as an outstanding volunteer, making a change in her community and inspiring others.

The Point of Light scheme sees someone selected every day in the UK to celebrate their remarkable achievements, following on from a similar programme in the US.

Mrs Murphy married into the Hitchen family whose ancestors were first crowned Pearly Kings and Queens in 1894, and she was chair of The Original Pearly Kings and Queen Association until recently, ensuring the London tradition is kept going by younger generations.

Over the years she has raised thousands for many charities by performing, singing and representing Pearlies at key events including the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.

Mrs Murphy, who lives in Leyton, was surprised to receive the honour through the post.

She said: “It turned up special delivery with Downing Street written all over it, the post woman wondered what it was.

“It was nice though, you know you do all these things through your life and don’t even think about it. It’s recognition and it’s nice for our association, it’s for all of us.”

The Pearly Kings and Queens, known as Pearlies, have a strong tradition of charity, and the first Pearly King, Henry Croft, is thought to have received 2,000 medals and ribbons for his fund-raising efforts, which were estimated to have totalled about £5,000.

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