A campaigner who has dedicated her time to saving the lives of ethnic minority leukaemia sufferers has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's birthday honours.

Beverley De Gale, the founder of the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to healthcare.

The trust was founded by Beverley and her partner Orin Lewis in 1996 when they were hit with the devastating news that their 8-year-old son who had leukaemia, and would need a life saving bone marrow transplant.

They discovered that because he was an ethnic minority he had one in 250,000 chance of finding a bone marrow donor match compared with one in five if he was white.

Since Beverley De Gale and Orin Lewis started their charity, the number of black and mixed raced potential donors in the UK have increased from 580 to 35,000.

It has been instrumental in saving the lives of those struck down by the cancer. Daniel received a life saving bone marrow transplant when he was 12-years-old from an unrelated donor in 1999, one of the first in the UK.

He died from an unrelated disease in October 2008 but was a tireless campaigner for the cause inspiring thousands to sign the donor register.

Beverley said: "I am both proud and delighted to be awarded this honour by Her Majesty the Queen for my services to Healthcare in Britain and I feel very honoured to accept it on behalf of my children, late mother and father, family, and everyone associated with the life saving and groundbreaking work of the ACLT.

"It was during 1996 my partner and I received the devastating news our 8 year old son Daniel De-Gale, would need a life saving bone marrow transplant in order to win his 3 year battle against Leukaemia.

"I never could have imagined that I would be standing here 15 years later in the exact month of when the charity was born and almost to the day on June 16 1999 when Daniel finally received his transplant.

"However as much as I feel completely overwhelmed with emotion and pride receiving this momentous personal accolade it is also tinged with a feeling of bitter sweetness, because the catalyst and inspiration for this award, Daniel, is now no longer with us having succumbed to an unrelated illness at the age of 21 in October 2008."

She said the charity would continue its vital work "to educate, motivate, inspire, empower and influence individuals to step forward and commit to becoming potential lifesavers".

She added: "Special thanks and love to my brothers and sisters and Daniel's donor, Doreene Carney, for their support especially during the many dark and painful episodes of this journey and when I receive the award at the Investiture I will also be thinking about how proud my late mother and father would be of me.

"Finally, it is due to the undiluted love and support of my beloved daughter, Dominique, Orin and of course Daniel that I have been able to achieve and make a difference to someone in need. They have always had faith in me and believed in me and if Daniel was physically still with us today, he would easily sum it all up in two words: Good times."

The OBE award arrives at a significant time for the ACLT, as it was nearly forced to shut down earlier this year when it was hit with a sudden shortage of funds.

However due to the overwhelming generosity of the Croydon community, more than £120,000 was raised in just three months to ensure the survival of the vital charity.

The ACLT continue to work hard in spreading awareness on bone marrow, blood and organ donation within the black, asian and mixed race communities in the UK, encouraging individuals to join the registers in the hope their donation could potentially become a life saving match.

Beverley said: "There are 17.1 million people on the NHS Organ Donor Register and only 1.5 per cent of these are from the asian communities and a woeful 0.4 per cent are from the black community, the ACLT life saving work is vital to assist with increasing the opportunities to save lives when Bone Marrow, Blood or Organ donation is required."