Teacher's MBE surprise

WHEN she started out listening to young children read at Castle Hill infants' School in Ipswich15 years ago, Madeline Johnson never imagined that she would end up at Buckingham Palace.

WHEN she started out listening to young children read at Castle Hill infants' School in Ipswich15 years ago, Madeline Johnson never imagined that she would end up at Buckingham Palace.

But that's the journey she'll be making later in the year after being awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Mrs Johnson, 46, from Bramford Road, first became involved in the school's work when her children were there.

“I started off as a parent helper, listening to children reading two days a week. Then I became a dinner lady, a lunchtime supervisor and a teaching assistant.


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“I have been teaching for the last six years. I love it, it's more than a job it's a vocation. There isn't a day which goes by when I don't learn something from the children just as, hopefully, they learn from us.”

But she was keen to see the honour as an award for the whole school, not just her contribution.

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She said: “This is something for everyone at Castle Hill to share: the teachers, the pupils, the other staff, and the parents.”

Mrs Johnson is one of several people in the county to be honoured by the Queen.

Copleston High School teacher Peter Dawson, 59, retires at the end of the term after 32 years at the school - the last 20 of those as a head of year.

He is also awarded the MBE for services to education, but remains modest about the gong.

He said: “It is something for the school as a whole to share. It has been awarded because this is a good school.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my career here and it is a real thrill to get this recognition.”

His headteacher, Laurie Robinson, described Mr Dawson as unique. He said: “He's been head of year for 20 years, that means he's seen four complete groups through the school and everyone has the utmost respect and admiration for him.

“He's also taught the children of people who were here in his early years, and they're always delighted to see him and are full of respect for him. He thoroughly deserves this recognition.”

Debenham High School head Mike Crawshaw has been awarded the OBE. Again he saw this as recognition for the whole school rather than just his own contribution.

He said: “The school is very much part of the community, it has a very family-oriented feel. This is not just about good exam results or anything like that. It is a recognition that the school is working well for its pupils.”

James Barclay from Woodbridge has been awarded the OBE for services to finance. St Edmundsbury Council chief executive Deborah Cadman has been awarded the OBE for services to local government.

And Lady Caroline Cranbrook has been awarded the OBE for services to the meat industry.

Other people from Suffolk to win awards include Felixstowe-based customs official Simon Horsburgh, Ringshall neighbourhood watch co-ordinator Pamela Smith and Martin Wake and who have been awarded the MBE.

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