A WINSFORD woman who has dedicated her life to finding homes for abandoned infants in Tanzania, has received an MBE at Buckingham Palace.

Amy Hathaway (nee Lithgow), 38, visited Buckingham Palace last week, where she was awarded the MBE by Prince Charles.

The former Woodford Lodge High School pupil received the honour for services to providing interim and community care for abandoned and vulnerable infants in Mwanza.

Amy, who also studied at Sir John Deane’s College, is the founder and project director of the Forever Angels Baby Home in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Through more than a decade of selfless and dedicated hard work, she has created a home for abandoned and at-risk infants which has saved and transformed lives.

Amy said: “I am overwhelmed and delighted that this honour will put Forever Angels in the spotlight.

“Our work in Tanzania is incredible and only possible because of the passion and dedication of my amazing family, trustees, volunteers and staff. I am thankful to all of them for creating this with me.”

Amy had first experienced the terrible impact that acute deprivation has on young children when she volunteered at Romanian orphanages.

Then in 2002, when she was working as an international teacher in Tanzania, she became aware of the huge challenges faced by local hospitals and social services in dealing with large numbers of abandoned or motherless babies.

Amy was so moved, she gave up her job and began to follow her vision in a full-time, voluntary capacity.

Through her strength of personality and powers of persuasion, by 2006 she had enough support and funds to buy, renovate and staff an old hospital building.

The first child arrived at the Baby Home at the end of 2006 and now, a safe and loving home has provided more than 350 orphans with a safe haven.

The charity has grown and now has a pre-school, a sensory room, and a specialised facility for premature infants.

In addition, there is a rapidly expanding community outreach programme, Maisha Matters, which provides life-saving nutrition for orphan babies and supports their relatives to set up sustainable businesses.