Margaret Stevens, Voluntary Regional Organiser for HOST in Cornwall since 1990, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to international students in the UK.

Margaret’s interest in international students began when she was a student herself and recurred 25 years ago when her husband was Rector of Illogan, close to the Camborne School of Mines.

She organised social activities for the international students there, and a fortnightly coffee morning for their wives. Joining HOST in 1990 enabled Margaret to extend her own local hospitality scheme, so that Cornish hosts could welcome international students from all UK universities.

Since then, Margaret has arranged for several thousand students to be welcomed by hosts both in Cornwall and in other counties which Margaret has looked after for HOST. For the past 17 years Margaret has also been the national Publicity Officer for the charity.

“There are about 70 volunteer hosts offering invitations in Cornwall now,” said Margaret, “but over the years there must have been a few hundred. I should think 50 per cent of them first heard of HOST through appeals in The Coracle and parish magazines across the county.

“It is in large measure due to the generosity and commitment of my hosts that I have received this award.”

Since her husband’s retirement from the parish of Constantine, Margaret has lived in the Mount’s Bay Benefice, where, in the time left by HOST, she edits the Benefice magazine, thus satisfying her twin passions for hospitality and communication.