LONDON – Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page went to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to receive an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, from Queen Elizabeth II — but the award was for his work with poor Brazilian children rather than his music.
The 61-year-old rocker said he was overwhelmed to be given the accolade, recalling how he first became involved with Brazilian children in 1994 when fighting broke out between street gangs while he was in Rio de Janeiro promoting an album.
"At that time in Rio the sun wasn't shining. The army was going into the favelas (shantytowns) and I heard about the plight of the street children," Page told reporters.
He joined forces with the British charity Task Brazil and set up a safe house which has so far supported more than 300 children.
"I think when you're faced with a plight that's inescapable, and there's something you can do about it, you hope you can make a difference," he said.
Task Brazil offers medical and psychological support, food, clothing and job training for street children.
Page was a member of the 1960s band The Yardbirds before helping to set up Led Zeppelin.