Seaton artist finally collects MBE from Prince Charles

Four year wait for Royal appointment ends as German-born Ursula becomes a British citizen

A SEATON artist has finally received the MBE she was awarded by The Queen four years ago.

German born Ursula Pratt, who runs a gallery in Fore Street, got the New Year honour in 2008 after helping to raise more than �170,000 for worthy causes, over nearly 20 years.

But it wasn’t until last week – after finally being granted a full British passport - that she was allowed to go and collect her medal from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

Yesterday (Wednesday) to celebrate she held a special reception at her shop, proudly wearing her new gong.

She said: “I could have had my MBE before but not presented by a member of the royal family because I was still travelling with a German passport, so I applied for British nationality,” she said.

“Being presented with it by Prince Charles was absolutely fabulous – very moving, nervous making but enjoyable.”

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Born in Hamburg, Mrs Pratt moved to Britain in 1956 and set up East Devon Artists for Charity.

She organises exhibitions at which fellow artists donate 25 per cent of their picture sale money towards worthy causes.

Her next show is at Branscombe this Easter.

Many local charities benefit from her fund raising, including the Exeter School for the deaf and the RNLI. Last year the scheme provided eight shelterboxes for use in disaster areas around the world.

Said Mrs Pratt: “I always like to know where my money goes so we either buy items to give or make sure we track how the cash is used. We don’t just hand over money to a great big pot. With the Shelterboxes each one was numbered so we could keep track of where they ended up.”

Although she plans to take her charity work a little easier these days Mrs Pratt says she has no intention of giving up and hopes to add to the current total of around �180,000 at this year’s show.