Published: June 13, 2009
Queen awards MBE to former Highbridge school secretary

A former school secretary from Highbridge has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours, it was announced on Saturday (June 13th).

Elizabeth Hughes, who was secretary of Beechfield Infant School in Highbridge, has been chosen for the award to mark her services to education.

She told on Saturday morning: "It's wonderful news that came as a complete surprise. It's a great honour to have been chosen."

Elizabeth worked at the school for more than 30 years, beginning as a teaching assistant. She was school secretary and clerk of the governors for 22 years.

She added: "I was very surprised but highly delighted to receive a letter from the Cabinet Office informing me that I had been awarded an MBE."

"When our daughter started at Beechfield Infant School I was asked if I would like to help in her class, listening to readers and playing games with groups of children. Little did I think then that this would lead to a career at the school lasting more than 30 years - I retired last July."

"Whilst working as a Teaching Assistant within the reception classes I was asked to support children who had special needs and found this to be a particularly rewarding experience, seeing these children grow in confidence and independence."

"After several years working in the classroom environment, I was appointed as School Secretary and Clerk to the Governors. There were no computers or photocopiers in those days, in fact I had to use a manual typewriter and a very messy ink duplicator."

"Thankfully County devolved more responsibility to schools and introduced the Computer Management System. This involved all the administrative staff working within Somerset Schools attend extensive and ongoing training. It was a great experience to meet colleagues from different schools and we found we could support each other if teething difficulties arose."

"I hope that in some small way I have been able to uphold the school’s Mission Statement - 'Caring, Sharing and Learning Together' - and given support where possible to the Beechfield Team, who work tirelessly to ensure the individual needs of every child is met and to encourage them achieve their full potential in a caring, secure and enjoyable atmosphere."

"I should like to thank the Headteacher, Governors and Staff for nominating me for this Honour. It really is a very special feeling to know that the people I worked alongside actually recommended me, and I am looking forward to attending the Investiture and receiving my MBE."

Tony Deahl, who sits on the school's board of governors, told on Saturday: "This is a very well deserved award for Elizabeth. We are all delighted for her!"

The Cabinet Office said 72% of the 984 recipients of the awards on this year's Queen's Birthday Honours main list are "ordinary people who have made a real difference" to life in their communities.


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