Aghalee woman is honoured by the Queen

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Guide dog owner June Best has received an MBE for her services to people with a disability.

June travelled with her guide dog, Alex, to Buckingham Palace to be receive her Member of the British Empire (MBE) from the Queen herself.

June is a former Head Teacher and Education Specialist from Aghalee and had partial sight loss from birth. In recent years her sight has deteriorated further and she also lives with Charles Bonne Syndrome.

Despite these challenges, she is “determined to get on with life”. It was in 1994 that June received her first guide dog, Rosie, and she “hasn’t looked back”.

Since then, June has dedicated her life to supporting and encouraging people with sight loss and disability to have the same life opportunities as everyone else.

She is the first ambassador for disabled people in Northern Ireland, working with the Office of Disability Issues and Department of Work and Pensions.

June is also the Service User Representative for Guide Dogs NI and has volunteered for the charity for 24 years.

June remarked: “It was a fantastic day and I had a lovely chat with Her Majesty.

“She even called Alex a cheeky chap and stroked his head when he was saying hello.”

Andrew Murdock, Engagement Manager at Guide Dogs NI, said: “June is never one to miss an opportunity to challenge government, such as the need to develop service pathways for children and young people with sight loss,

“A huge congratulations to June for her achievement and continuing work she does for people with a disability here in Northern Ireland.

“We’re extremely proud of her and it’s so well deserved.”