FORMER Old Town resident Maggie Jeans, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Maggie who left the UK in 1990 to live in Oman, is a partner and director of Al Manahil International LLC and Educational Consultancy and the citation is for services to Omani/British relations.

She left the UK with her husband, Professor William Dampier Jeans, who helped to establish the Radiology Department at Sultan Qaboos University. She also worked at the university as education officer in the College of Medicine, where she set up the Overseas Elective Programme for medical students among other things. Some of these students came to Swindon and Bristol with the help of friends in both places. Many of her former Omani students are now heading up departments in hospitals around the Sultanate.

A former pupil of King William Street Church of England Primary and Commonweal Grammar School, Maggie, 63, worked at the Swindon Advertiser during her gap year between 1971-1972.

She says she remembers Old Town as being "like a village back then and Swindon was much less developed.

" I grew up at the end of the railway era and remember vividly as a child the sound of the GWR hooters signalling the workers lunch break and huge numbers of men in belted rain coats cycling backwards and forwards to work," she said.

"And children walked everywhere and played in the streets."

Maggie went on to become a drama student in Birmingham and taught in Bristol for 16 years at Merrywood Girls' School in Knowle West, whilst her husband worked in the Radiology Department at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

In 1996 she set up Al Manahil which specialises in the supply of books and educational material to the government and private sector throughout the Sultanate. Maggie has run the British Business Forum for many years which aims to promote UK/Oman business links.

Maggie said she was surprised and delighted to receive the honour "especially in the Queen's 90th year."

But she is keen to emphasis that this recognition belongs to the Oman community.

"Muscat is a very supportive and special place. I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of a whole host of people and I am determined to work to reinforce the special relationship that already exists between the Sultanate of Oman and the UK. I would also like to acknowledge the support of my husband in everything I have done, although sadly he died in November last year," she said.

Asked if she would be attending Buckingham Palace to collect her OBE Maggie said: "I certainly hope so."