A MOTHER-of-five from Alveston, who has dedicated every spare moment to her beloved Guirlguides over the past six decades, was appointed MBE by the monarch.

Elizabeth Cross, 77, headed to Buckingham Palace on Friday, November 9, along with 90 other honorees, including Hollywood star RSC actor Kenneth Branagh, where she was awarded the insignia.

The former Guider told the Gazette about her meeting with her sister in name, Queen Elizabeth II.

"It was a very exciting day," she said. "The Queen was wonderful. She takes the time to speak to every single person. She asked me if I was a member of the Trefoil Guild now, which was nice. She knew her Guiding."

She was accompanied to the investiture ceremony by her husband Alan and two children Paul and Helen.

Although slightly tense at first, Mrs Cross went through the motions and found herself forgetting all about her initial jitters.

"It’s a bit surreal," she added. "I was very nervous beforehand. By the time I got there, the only thing I was worried about was falling over. I did not have time to be nervous because I was concentrating so much on what she was saying."

Mrs Cross was nominated for the Queen’s Honours List by her fellow Guiders and was shocked when she discovered last June she would be made MBE.

Since then, she has received countless cards and messages from the Guiding community, friends and family congratulating her on her achievement.

Mrs Cross’s love story with the Guides began nearly 70 years ago when she joined her local Brownies unit in Southport at the age of eight. She became a leader in the 1950s.

She moved to Bristol with her husband Alan in 1961, where she carried on as leader before settling down in Alveston eight years later.

Over the decades, she has been county, district and division commissioner and is now chairman of the Thornbury Trefoil Guild for retired Guiders as well as president of the Severnvale Guides division.