A headteacher who has been in her role for more than 30 years says she is filled with pride after being awarded an OBE.
Cherry Edwards received the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, which were unveiled on Saturday.
Mrs Edwards has been headteacher at Bourne Abbey Primary Academy for 10 years but has been a headteacher for 32 years.
She said she was “thrilled, delighted and surprised, but more than anything immensely proud” to receive the award.
Mrs Edwards said when she first received a letter from the Cabinet Office notifying her, she had to “sit down very fast”.
She said: “My husband had to read the letter to me and, of course, I was absolutely delighted and incredibly surprised.
“Looking back on my career, I know this award should be shared with my wonderful colleagues, not just at Bourne Abbey but from my previous roles, the governors, all my local authority colleagues - everyone that has contributed to making education the very best that it can be.”
Staff and governors arranged for a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to Mrs Edwards’ home on Saturday and she spent the weekend celebrating with her husband, two daughters and four grandchildren, who she said were proud of her achievements.
On Monday, Mrs Edwards told the children of her award during a special assembly.
She said: “I told them it’s not about Cherry Edwards, it is all about wonderful colleagues and of course, the children who are the real stars.”
She said the children were excited at the prospect of her visiting Buckingham Palace later in the year to collect her award.
Mrs Edwards said: “I’m looking forward to bringing the medal back into the school so all the children can see it and touch it.”
Even after 32 years in the job, Mrs Edwards said she is still passionate about what she does.
She said: “I am very blessed to work with such fantastic colleagues. I am very passionate and I am a hard taskmaster.
“I’ve got lots of years of experience but I hope I’ve learned a lot along the way.
“I have always said though that I’ve got the best job in the world and I still believe that.
“I love working with children. I want them to believe, to succeed, to attain and to achieve, and to be the very best that they can be”
Mrs Edwards thanked her family for supporting her over the years “with such great patience”.
Chairman of governors John Kirkman said: “I would like to take this opportunity to offer our heartfelt congratulations on behalf of governors and staff on this wonderful achievement acknowledging the outstanding contribution Cherry has made to the lives of thousands of children and staff over her long and distinguished career.”