Beech Hill Country House Hotel owner Patsy O’Kane has taken on a new role, as the new High Sheriff of Londonderry.
The queen of hospitality admitted she forgot about the mention of a Royal appointment until she received formal notification from the Secretary of State confirming that she had been awarded the prestigious title.
Her first official engagement was attending a recent garden party at Buckingham Palace - her second visit to the palace in two years. She received an MBE from the Queen Elizabeth in 2014.
“It’s really fabulous to be given such an honour and to get the opportunity to once again experience the splendour of Buckingham Palace,” she said.
“The appointment is even more fitting given that 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of our family-run establishment,” she said.
Patsy was “more than a little taken aback” when she received notification of her appointment from Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, on behalf of the Queen, in January.
“The previous High Sheriff Vindi Torney told me last November that she and the Lord Lieutenant had put my name forward for the position. I thought she was joking but she insisted that she wasn’t. As it turned out I forgot all about it until I received a letter from Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State, informing me that I was the new High Sheriff for the city.
“I was overwhelmed and excited all at once. I felt truly humbled to be given such a highly regarded position. The Hotel is steeped in history and it is fitting that its rich heritage is now associated with such an historic title.”