Ex-Roker star inspired Jean

Jean Fawcett who has been given the MBE for services to education.
Jean Fawcett who has been given the MBE for services to education.
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Ex-Sunderland football star inspired MBE winner Jean

Jean Fawcett became hooked on economics when she was in the first class of youngsters studying the subject at Sunderland’s former Bede Girls’ Grammar School and was taught by Roker Park favourite Bert Snell, whom she describes as the most committed teacher she ever met.

Sunderland AFC  year 1951  1952  old ref number sport 1 94''picture caption:  Fit and ready for new season these Sunderland FC players donned the familiar red and whites to posed for an official photograph.'Back row:  (left to right): McNeil, Brunskill, Toseland, Marston, Kennedy, Threadgold, Mapson, Aitken, Snell, Hudgell, Walsh and Fairley.'Middle row:  Ross (assistant trainer), Wright (A), Davis, Hall, W.  Murray (manager), Ford, Hedley, Shackleton, Johnston (trainer)'Front row: Bingham, Stelling, Reynolds, Wright (T)'Sunderland Echo Saturday August 23 1952

Sunderland AFC year 1951 1952 old ref number sport 1 94''picture caption: Fit and ready for new season these Sunderland FC players donned the familiar red and whites to posed for an official photograph.'Back row: (left to right): McNeil, Brunskill, Toseland, Marston, Kennedy, Threadgold, Mapson, Aitken, Snell, Hudgell, Walsh and Fairley.'Middle row: Ross (assistant trainer), Wright (A), Davis, Hall, W. Murray (manager), Ford, Hedley, Shackleton, Johnston (trainer)'Front row: Bingham, Stelling, Reynolds, Wright (T)'Sunderland Echo Saturday August 23 1952

Now, Jean, 65, is celebrating being awarded the MBE for services to higher and further education.

Jean, who recently retired from her last post as Director of Academic Development and Review at London Metropolitan University, said: “It was a delightful surprise to be honoured. It makes me feel very proud and humble at the same time.”

After leaving school, Jean, the eldest child of Raymond and Betty Barnes, who lived in The Westlands, High Barnes, continued her education as an economist at the University of Leicester and University College London, and in education at Brunel University before moving to a job as an economist at the then Department of the Environment.

She began her career as a lecturer at Ealing Technical College, and in 1990, she was appointed Dean of the Business School at the Polytechnic of North London, the first ever female dean of a business school in the UK.

Jean, who regularly visits her siblings and nieces in Sunderland, said: “I’ve had a very enjoyable career and feel very fortunate to have been able to make a small contribution to a fantastic cause. The award of an MBE is really the icing on the cake.”

Jean, who is married to Trevor and has two children, Chris and Sarah, not only committed her working life to education, but also served for more than three decades on voluntary projects, including chairing a community arts centre committee and being on the governing body of several schools.

Professor Malcolm Gillies, vice-chancellor of London Metropolitan University, said: “We are absolutely delighted with this recognition of Jean’s contribution to our university, and of her nationally-leading role in business education and all aspects of academic development.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho