Glynn resident Isobel Parke admitted she was not only delighted but also totally surprised to learn she had been nominated for the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Isobel, who received the award for services to education, retired in May last year after serving 25 years as caretaker of the village school.
It was a role that she said became much more than just a job over the years.
“I love the school, not just working in it, but the fact that staff and everyone all are good friends. It is a brilliant wee school,” she said.
Isobel said the news that she was included in the Honours List gave her a real boost.
“I was ill earlier in the year and it was wonderful to receive the letter saying I had been nominated.
“I have been invited to Hillsborough Castle for a ceremony with the Lord Lieutenant and next year there will be an invitation to Buckingham Palace. I couldn’t have travelled this year anyway, so it has worked out very nicely,” she said.
Saturday’s official announcement was a doubly proud moment for Isobel and her family as her son, Jimmy, a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Irish Guards, was taking part in the Trooping The Colour parade to mark the Queen’s official birthday.
Principal of Glynn Primary School, Diane Hawthorne, expressed her delight at Isobel’s good news and praised her “loyal and devoted service to the entire Glynn community”.
“Generations of children who have been educated at Hansel and Gretel Pre-School and Glynn Primary School have been loved and cared for by Isobel and in turn have great affection for her,” she said.
“Isobel’s dedication to education and the community in Glynn has always been above and beyond the call of duty.
“Even having retired in May, 2011, Isobel continues to be involved in the life of the school and pre-school. We are all privileged to know Isobel and have her support and encouragement.
“On behalf of the governors, staff, pupils and parents of Glynn Primary School, I would just like to say thank-you and many congratulations Isobel,” said Miss Hawthorne.
Local MLA Roy Beggs Jnr said he too was delighted to hear that Isobel had been awarded the BEM.
“As a former parent, and now school governor at Glynn Primary School, I know from first-hand experience that Isobel’s dedication goes way beyond what could be reasonably expected of any employee,” he said.
“She has looked out for the interest of children and indeed the entire community of the Glynn for many decades and well deserves her award,” Mr Beggs added.