The 70-year-old, from Buckden, has been recognised for her long service to the fashion industry and her charity fundraising.

Anne Furbank started marathon running when she was 50Anne Furbank started marathon running when she was 50

“I was very lucky to be invited to Buckingham Palace in 2010 to meet the Queen in recognition of my services to the fashion industry and when the letter came I thought someone was playing a joke,” she said.

“So when this letter came from the Cabinet Office in November informing me about the award, I said to my husband, ‘it really must be a joke this time’.

“I am quite overwhelmed and shocked and thrilled to receive the award and this gives me some new opportunities and a chance to think about what comes next,” she added.

Mrs Furbank was described as an “extremely successful businesswoman” who has used her business as a springboard for charitable work by the Cabinet Office.

Anne Furbank picks up her fashion industry awardAnne Furbank picks up her fashion industry award

She founded Anne Furbank Fashions in 1981 when she was in her thirties and now has 12 showrooms, employing more than 40 people.

She also won the Drapers Independent Retailer of the Year Award in 2005.

She says she set up the business with one small shop in Buckden High Street and it just “grew and grew”. She began donating some of the money from the sales and shows to charity.

The Anne Furbank business has raised £92,000 for the BBC Children in Need charity since 1992 as well as about £20,000 for various other local charities by holding fashion shows.

As well as raising money through her business, Mrs Furbank took up marathon running when she was 50 and broadened her charitable work.

She ran the Dublin Marathon for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust (CFT) and a couple of years later ran five more marathons in five consecutive days along the Liverpool/Leeds canal route and raised nearly £15,000 for CFT.

She also raised more than £10,000 for the Arthur Rank Hospice and £12,000 for Medical Detection Dogs - when she ran six marathons in six days in order to raise money to buy a new spaniel for medical detection.

On taking up running later in life, she said: “I had always kept myself fit, but I was never a runner, but I loved it and became hooked,” she said.

She has also competed in events with other family members.