Former Henlow teacher who had quadruple amputation after developing sepsis named in Queen's birthday honours for work in Africa

Her service to education in Bedfordshire and charity in Africa is being recognised with an MBE

Friday, 11th June 2021, 10:30 pm

Caroline Coster - who had a quadruple amputation last year - is being recognised for her tireless work in Africa as well as closer to home in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

The 58-year-old is receiving the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to charity in Africa as well as education in Bedfordshire.

Caroline - who taught at Henlow Academy for 20 years - came to the public's attention last year when she had an operation after she developed sepsis while she was recovering from CovidBut it's for her amazing work in Africa, which began in 2010, that's earned her the recognition.

Caroline Coster

She said: "It's really nice to be recognised for something before all this - before I was defined as the woman who had her hands and legs cut off. This is now my second life - but it's nice to have this for my first life."

She helped build a school in a village in Kenya, raising over £40,000 and also encouraged women to start earning money.

Caroline, of Bedford, said: "It was seeing the levels of poverty out there - I wanted to give women the chances to earn money."

She set up a sewing business where women learned how to make school uniforms, bought knitting machine for school jumpers as well as motorbikes to set up a taxi service.

Caroline Coster

And despite going through such a traumatic experience last year, while in hospital, she posted videos on social media platform Facebook asking for donations to be sent to the Bedfordshire Hospital Charitable Trust or the Utange Primary School in Mombasa.

You can make a donation to Make A Difference Schools MombasaShe even set up an online shop selling denim bags she repurposed from old clothes when she came home following rehab.

And what does Caroline think of her top honour?

She said: "I was shocked. I deleted the email when it came as I thought it was spam."

Caroline Coster

But luckily, she had a change of heart and discovered it was legitimate.

"Oh my goodness. I was really touched that someone would nominate me. It's lovely."