By Len Port
Angela Morado of the British Vice Consulate in the Algarve has been presented with an Honorary MBE, awarded to her by Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of her significant contribution to relations between the United Kingdom and Portugal.
The award was formally presented by the British Ambassador to Portugal, Kirsty Hayes, at a reception on in Portimão.
The Ambassador said in tribute: “Angie has proved herself to be a consummate professional in dealing tenaciously with hundreds of consular cases, and providing exemplary support to many distressed and vulnerable British nationals.
“Angie always sees each and every person as an individual, an essential skill in consular work, where each person has a set of unique, personal circumstances, even if the type of situation is one she has dealt with many times before.
“She has a seemingly limitless supply of empathy and compassion for fellow human beings; often facing up to the worst situation in their lives in a foreign country, sometimes alone, where they don’t speak the language or understand the norms.”
The Ambassador also noted that crisis response is another significant responsibility of consular staff around the world, and, in 2010, Angela was deployed to Funchal to assist British nationals caught up in the flood crisis there. With all communication systems down, there were huge challenges in making contact with British residents and holidaymakers in Madeira.
A year later, Angela went to Malta at one hour’s notice to assist with the evacuation of Libya during the Arab Spring crisis.
Angela was hoping to study fine arts but did not have the Portuguese language skills at the time to pursue a university degree in Portugal.
Instead, in October 1988, she started working for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office at the British Consulate in the Algarve, having been advised about the job vacancy by her previous employer, Zita Neto, Director of the language school Interlingua in Portimão. The British Consulate was just up the road from the school.
“I was interviewed by the then Honorary British Consul, Dr José Pearce de Azevedo, to whom I am ever grateful for teaching me the Portuguese I am able to read, write and speak today,” she says.
Having started as a consular support officer, she was promoted to consular assistant in 1994. With the retirement of her former colleagues Ron Underwood and Zefita Azevedo, she was promoted to Proconsul and then appointed Vice Consul in 2004.
She has served under seven consuls. Commenting on her MBE award, Roger Nuttall, the British Consul in the Algarve between 2000 and 2005, who now lives in retirement in England, said: “Among former colleagues in my 40 plus years in the Diplomatic Service, Angela Morado was simply the best consular officer I ever worked with. She was conscientious, professional, and wonderful with the public, British and Portuguese alike. I wish we could clone Angela for every consular job in the Service.”
Angela’s own reaction to the MBE award: “I am truly honoured for the recognition and proud to work for this organisation that has provided me with so many opportunities in my career to learn and develop and to travel.
“Above all it is the great job satisfaction I have every day in being able to help vulnerable people. Within the consulate we have a saying that “there is never a dull day” and this makes my job exciting.
“I have always worked with fantastic teams who have been supportive especially when dealing with the more complex cases.
“It is a luxury these days to be able to say that I get paid for the job that I love doing.”
The Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) award is given by Her Majesty the Queen to an individual for outstanding service to the community.
Photo: Angela Morado (right); Kirsty Hayes (left)
(*) Len Port is a journalist and author. Born in Northern Ireland, his first written pieces were published while he was working in the Natural History Museum, London. Since then he has worked as a news reporter, mainly in Hong Kong, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Portugal. In addition to reporting hard news for some of the world’s leading news organizations, he has produced countless feature articles on all sorts of subjects for a range of publications. Now living in southern Portugal, his books include travel guides and children’s stories. His ebooks – People in a PlaceApart and The Fátima Phenomenon – Divine Grace, Delusion or Pious Fraud? are available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. His blog posts can be viewed at algarvenewswatch.blogspot.com