Page last updated at 09:55 GMT, Saturday, 22 May 2010 10:55 UK

Cheshire gymnast Beth Tweddle honoured with MBE

Beth Tweddle with her MBE
Tweddle described the ceremony as "surreal"

Britain's most successful gymnast has been presented with an MBE after her career at the top of the sport.

Beth Tweddle, 25, of Cheshire, has her sights set on 2012 Olympic glory after winning a number of gold medals in recent years.

The Prince of Wales presented the award to her in an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

He wished her well for the London Olympics during an event described as "surreal" by the gymnast.

Tweddle, who lives in Bunbury but trains in Liverpool, successfully defended her European titles in the uneven bars and floor events at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships earlier in May.

She is also the 2009 Floor World Champion after coming top in the event at the 02 Arena in London in 2009.

Everyone kept saying to me 'you are not going to cartwheel in'
Beth Tweddle

Speaking after the ceremony, Tweddle said she was delighted to receive an award outside gymnastics - but was nervous about the ceremony.

"It's been totally surreal to get an MBE," she said.

"I didn't really believe it at first, I waited for the letter telling me I was coming to the palace before I did.

"I was surprisingly quite nervous before the ceremony - I was worried about tripping up when I walked in. Everyone kept saying to me 'you are not going to cartwheel in'.

"I train to win gymnastic medals but away from gymnastics the MBE is a massive honour."

Tweddle's career began when her father took her to a local gymnastics club to burn off excess energy when she was a hyperactive seven-year-old.

Her career has progressed steadily over the years and her first major honour was an uneven bars title at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

She made her Olympic debut in 2004 and achieved a European gold at her favoured event in 2006, the year she also became World Champion.

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Double European gold for Tweddle
02 May 10 |  Gymnastics

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