If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother. My name is Helen, and I’m the daughter of Dame Irene Hays.
They say behind every great man is a great woman, but my dad, John Hays, always said my mum "isn’t a great woman, she’s an extraordinary woman". He used to say "and she’s not behind me, she’s beside me".
On the 1 January 2021, my mother became a dame on the Queen’s New Year’s Honour’s list. There are more than 30 million women in the UK and only 12 women were given a damehood.
That means that my mum is not just one in a million, she is one in two million.
My mum isn’t made of steel, she’s made out of titanium. She is the strongest person I know. She is unwavering, extraordinarily innovative, and fair.
On Sunday (16 May), my mum named P&O’s new ship Iona in an official ceremony in Southampton.
This puts her in the company of Dame Kelly Holmes, Dame Helen Mirren, Princess Anne and her majesty The Queen.
My mum always told me to mind my P’s & Q’s, I suppose I now must look out for my P&O’s.
I am immensely proud of her and she deserves all of the recognition and more. She doesn’t know I’ve written this, so Mum’s the word.
There’s nothing (and nobody) like my Dame. No-one comes one Iona close.