An audience with the Queen as Sue receives MBE honour

Sue Bird, Shootacre Lane, Princes RIsborough.
Sue Bird, Shootacre Lane, Princes RIsborough.
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A woman who has fought for gender equality in the field of engineering for more than

40 years met the Queen when she was awarded an MBE.

Sue Bird, of Princes Risborough, and her husband Peter, attended Windsor Castle on Friday for the awards presentation ceremony.

Mrs Bird, who has been a member of the Women’s Engineering Society for 44 years, including two spells as president, said: “It was a fantastic day – absolutely magic. The way they arranged it all was great fun.”

In recent years, it has increasingly been Prince Charles who gives out the honours so Mrs Bird was delighted when she found out it would be Her Majesty carrying out the duties on this occasion.

“Obviously, I didn’t mind who did it, but to have the Queen – and in such a special year – was amazing.”

She spoke to the Queen for several minutes and was asked about engineering and acoustics – the field Mrs Bird worked in for many decades.

Mrs Bird received the honour as a mark of her work as a consultant acoustic engineer and for her efforts in trying to get more women into engineering.

She said it was a complete surprise when she opened a letter from the palace in June.

The 67-year-old enjoyed a varied career and in the mid-1970s worked for Concorde where she specialised in monitoring flyover noise.

Later she worked at Greater London Council in its noise department, and when this was abolished she moved on to become a partner at Bird Acoustics in Princes Risborough. She retired from Bird Acoustics in 2008 and lives with her husband Peter, also a retired acoustic engineer.

She said: “There are more women in engineering now but it there is still much more which needs to be done.

“Women offer a different perspective in the workplace.”