A holiday in Cyprus got even better for RAF Warrant Officer Fiona Phillips when she heard she had been made an MBE.

Fiona, 44, lives in Alton with her husband Matthew, a corporal in the RAF, and their sons Benjamin, 11, and Henry, eight. Fiona is based at RAF Marham in Norfolk and Matthew at RAF Odiham. The boys attend Chawton CE Primary School.

The RAF said: “Warrant Officer Fiona Phillips is an outstanding ambassador for the RAF. Her selfless commitment to voluntary work and community development is exceptional.

“Her passion for teaching has been a thread throughout her career. Her voluntary commitment to the development of a Tanzanian village since 2008 has alleviated poverty through health and education. She has cared for and taught English to over 70 children in a Cambodian orphanage, volunteered at an adults’ residential centre and supported staff at a school for those with disabilities.

“In 2018 she found capacity to be on the Akrotiri school governing body. Following fatal drowning incidents, she took on the community lead for drowning prevention. She developed a comprehensive programme promoting water safety and teaching lifesaving skills, and delivered this to all local schools, including the 250 pupils at Akrotiri Primary.

“Outside the service, she co-ordinates children’s triathlons, coaches athletics and is the welfare and safeguarding lead for British Triathlon.”

Fiona, pictured with Benjamin at a previous awards ceremony, said: “I am extremely humbled to receive this award for the small contribution that I have played towards raising funds and volunteering for many charities and community projects that are close to my heart.

“None of this is possible without the support of my family, friends and colleagues. Regular contact with many families from my charity work is very rewarding to me.”

Her mother Susan Inge, of Alresford, said: “Fiona was a Flight Sergeant when she was proposed for the MBE. She was two days into a holiday in Cyprus with RAF friends when she heard about it, and came home on New Year’s Day. I’m a very proud mum!”