Adela’s honour comes at a poignant time

Tandragee woman Adela Beggs thought she was being scammed when she was first told she was to receive the BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 10:24 am

Adela, who owns the Button Moon Preschool Playgroup based in the village, was honoured with the British Empire Medal for her dedicated services to education and young people.

The former Gilford woman said the honour came at just the right time as this year she marks the 30th anniversary of the foundation of Button Moon.

It also came at a poignant time for Adela as she also remembered her inspirational mum Mabel Millar - who passed away on June 8, 2012.

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Adela paid tribute to her mum’s caring and giving nature, which she said had always inspired and motivated her.

Explaining how she received news of the honour Adela said: “I got a phone call from some secretary in England to say I was getting the award and congratulating me.

“My initial response was ‘Shut the back door’, I thought it was some sort of scam.

“I still don’t know who nominated me, but I hope to find out.

“I started crying and waited on the follow up email, I just thought it was too good to be true, I didn’t think something like this would happen to people like me.”

And on Friday when the list came out, well there wasn’t a dry eye in the house: “When the list came up on Friday my husband Spencer started with the tears.”

Indeed, Adela said Spencer’s support had helped her so much in her work: “Spencer has seen the blood, sweat and tears, he has had to sacrifice for Button Moon too.”

Adela started Button Moon 30 years ago when her boys were small and she realised there was no provision in Tandragee for early years education: “It’s my baby. We’re an accredited pre-school, funded by the education board and cross-community.”

With an background in education Adela decided to make a move into early years provision and hired a hall from the local church to hold a public meeting, a committee was formed that night and with hard work and dedication Button Moon took shape.

Initially it ran in a church hall but Adela wanted to develop the group along more cross community lines and so needed new premises.

The council approached her about using the recreation centre in Tandragee and the playgroup moved into purpose built rooms there.

The playgroup has enjoyed tremendous success since, with Adela as the driving force.

But Adela was keen to point out: “I couldn’t have done it without the staff, parents and children - the children are the backbone of Button Moon.”

She said the staff at Button Moon had given her tremendous support, with major challenges in the past year.

“It’s been difficult year, we had to do a lot of remote learning and I think I’m a lot closer to the parents now because of that remote learning.”

And a philosophical Adela added: “Good times like this make the bad times go away.”

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