A policewoman who has dedicated nearly 20 years to protecting children has been made an MBE.

For 18 of her 34 years service with the Metropolitan Police, Ann Stuart, of Church Lane, North Weald, has served in the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command.

She said: “It is a very challenging area of work. We deal with cases from minor neglect to the most serious offences of rape and abuse.

“You know you are making a difference, and that is the rewarding part of the job.

“It is very surreal to be getting an MBE. I keep telling people in the hope that I will start believing it myself.”

Mrs Stuart will attend a ceremony at Buckingham Palace with her niece, mother and husband in January.