Meath parishioner receives British Empire Medal for disability services

Share this story

Dunboyne parishioner Joan Bruton received an honorary British Empire Medal on Tuesday 3rd October in Hillsborough Castle, Co Down in recognition of her role as the retired founder of the Lighthouse Trust Summer School and for her services to the disabled community in Ireland. 

Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II approved the honorary British awards to foreign nationals in 2022 shortly before her death. Joan received her award from Robert Lowry Scott, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Co Tyrone during the ceremony at Hillsborough Castle.   

For 22 years, in a voluntary capacity, Joan Bruton served as organiser of the Lighthouse Trust Summer School which was attended by her son Thomas. 

The school was set up in 1997 by parents of children with cerebral palsy and met in Donaghadee Parish Hall, Co Down. It provided conductive education which included physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy and also helped to develop a child’s mobility and social skills. The school also provided a fun programme of ice-skating, sailing lessons, horse riding and carriage riding, boat trips, music and drama, crafts, visits to popular attractions and much more.

Joan also contributes widely to parochial, diocesan and General Synod committees of the Church of Ireland, as Meath and Kildare lay representative on Standing Committee and Priorities Fund.

Commenting on her medal, the Bishop of Meath and Kildare, Most Rev Pat Storey said, “We are delighted to congratulate Joan on her prestigious award. Joan is an integral part of our diocesan family and ‘when one rejoices, we all rejoice!’ This award is well deserved. Joan, whilst devoted too to Thomas, has given innumerable hours to public service, particularly in Donaghadee. Warm congratulations from us all!”

Mrs Joan Bruton BEM pictured receiving her award from Mr Robert Lowry, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Co Tyrone during a ceremony at Hillsborough Castle earlier this month.
Photo by Aaron McCracken