Bitter-sweet pride of crusading couple

Carly Fairhurst
Carly Fairhurst

There were tears and smiles as a Wigan couple were honoured for the campaigning work they carried out in their tragic daughter’s memory.

Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst were at Buckingham Palace on Friday to receive MBEs from the Duke of Cambridge.

Trevor and Sheila Faihurst with son Michael and his partner Shelley outside Buckingham Palace

Trevor and Sheila Faihurst with son Michael and his partner Shelley outside Buckingham Palace

They were awarded to the Hindley couple in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours in recognition of their crusading talks about domestic abuse and their fund-raising both for Victim Support counsellors and the victims of the Manchester bomb.

The inspiration behind their work of the last 11 years is their 19-year-old daughter Carly whose boyfriend Darren Pilkington killed her during a row in 2006. He was released earlier this year but is now back behind bars after breaching parole.

The Fairhursts, their son Michael and his partner Shelley, travelled down to London this week for the Buckingham Palace ceremony. Other notables receiving honours included several senior military figures and tennis coach Judy Murray.

And they said the Duke could not have been more welcoming.

Trevor said: “We were told beforehand that he could be quite chatty and he was! He was well versed in Carly’s case and said how sorry he was for our loss. He really put us at our ease and we must have been standing there talking for six or seven minutes.

“The Royal Family press office wanted to speak to us too, partly because not many couples get honours together.

“It was a wonderful occasion: bitter-sweet of course. We would have given it all up to have our daughter back.”