OBE honours for Brits' rights campaigner Fiona Godfrey

Fiona Godfrey is pictured at a 2018 Delano Live event Sébastien Goossens/archives

Fiona Godfrey is pictured at a 2018 Delano Live event Sébastien Goossens/archives

Fiona Godfrey founded and chaired British Immigrants Living in Luxembourg and today co-chairs British in Europe (BiE), a group championing the rights of British nationals living abroad.

Her name was published in the Queen’s honours list on 12 June, for services to UK nationals in Europe. Joint co-chair of BiE, Jane Golding also receives an OBE.

Godfrey told Delano: “I would have preferred never to have had to fight for citizens’ rights but since I did I am honoured to have been nominated for this award by ordinary members of the British community across Europe. It is also at least some recognition from the British government of the huge loss of rights we have all suffered thanks to its insistence on negotiating away our EU membership and free movement rights. The fight will go on.”

She also wrote in a post on Facebook: “I have to say that there are two people, Kathryn and Kalba, whose names should be on this list with mine and Jane's. They have worked their socks off for UK citizens in France and I am gutted that their hard work and dedication has not been recognised.” Godfrey added a note of thanks to her family whose support “make everything we do possible.”

An official statement on the BiE website read: “We are very happy to accept this honour today because we know that the nomination came primarily from the people whose rights we have been fighting for since 2017, UK nationals in Europe. We also know that, rather than being personal and individual, it is public recognition of the work that everyone in British in Europe, and particularly our steering team, has done on their behalf. Through his Votes for Life campaign, Harry Shindler has shown us how important recognition like this in the UK is when campaigning for the rights of British citizens abroad, and we will follow his example and keep speaking truth to power.”

Godfrey, who has a 20-year career in public health advocacy, is currently a consul­tant for the EU commission’s cancer mission board. She is also a member of the board of trustees for Statewatch, a citizens’ rights group.

The most recent honours bestowed on a Luxembourg citizen were an MBE, given to retired manager of the British Chamber of Commerce Sophie Kerschen. Other recipients include Chris Garrett (MBE) and Cynthia Albrecht (MBE).

What is an OBE?

The Officer of the Order of the British Empire is the second-highest ranking Order of the British Empire behind the CBE.  It is one of several honours given to recognise people’s achievements and services to the UK.