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Call the Midwife star becomes first Down’s Syndrome woman to get MBE

‘My Mum cried when we got the letter’: Call the Midwife actress Sarah Gordy becomes the first woman with Down’s syndrome to receive an MBE

  • Sarah Gordy, who starred in Call The Midwife as Sally Harper and Lady Pamela Holland in Upstairs, Downstairs was honoured at Buckingham Palace today
  • Actress, who has Down’s syndrome, received MBE for services to the arts and people with disabilities including her charity work as an ambassador for Mencap
  • Prince William presented the MBE, with Gordy calling the recognition ‘fantastic’ 

An actress who has graced the screen in Call The Midwife and Upstairs, Downstairs has become the first woman with Down’s syndrome to receive an MBE.

Sarah Gordy said it was ‘just fantastic’ to be at the honours ceremony at Buckingham Palace – and admitted she and her mum shed a tear when they first heard the news.

Dressed in a beautiful teal velvet dress with matching hat, the actress received the honour for her services to the arts and people with disabilities from Prince William.

Sarah Gordy, who has appeared in hit series Call the Midwife and Upstairs, Downstairs said it was a ‘fantastic’ honour to be recognised with an MBE at Buckingham Palace today

Prince William, wearing his military regalia, took care as he pinned the honour on Gordy; the award was received for her services to the arts and people with disabilities 

The actress played Sally Harper, a young woman with Down’s syndrome who is sent to an institution by her family, in Call the Midwife

Gordy was among the list of figures awarded titles in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June and enjoyed a lengthy chat with the Duke of Cambridge as her mum, sister and dad looked on.

She said afterwards: ‘I’ve worked really hard in what I believe in. I’d like to inspire others and empower others to believe in themselves, especially people with Down’s syndrome. The world is their oyster.’


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Gordy revealed that Prince William said she was ‘lovely’ and asked about her charity work.

She said she cried with happiness after finding out she was to receive the honour, adding: ‘My mum cried when she first got the letter and I cried too.

‘My dad was very proud of me and so was my sister, who is here with me today.’ 

The actress revealed that she and her mother shed a tear when they received the letter imparting the news that her charity work had been recognised by the crown


Gordy, who took her mum, dad and sister along to Buckingham Palace said she was delighted her work – including as a celebrity ambassador for Mencap had been recognised. Right: The actress shakes hands with the Duke of Cambridge after receiving her award

The actress said she had previously visited Buckingham Palace as a celebrity ambassador for Mencap, a UK charity for people with a learning disability.

She said visiting the palace for a second time was ‘very exciting’.

Gordy is best known for her role as Lady Pamela Holland in the BBC TV series Upstairs Downstairs. She starred in Call The Midwife as Sally Harper, a young woman with Down’s syndrome who is sent to an institution by her family.

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