School stalwart Jean given the royal seal of approval in Queen’s birthday honours

Jean Johnson with some of the children at Belmont Cheveley Primary School.
Jean Johnson with some of the children at Belmont Cheveley Primary School.
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A pensioner who has devoted more than 45 years to her local primary school has been honoured by the Queen.

Jean Johnson, who has worked and volunteered at Belmont Cheveley Primary School for almost five decades has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours list.

I’m so excited

Jean Johnson

Mark Dent, headteacher at the school, nominated Jean, who began working there as a secretary when she became a widow with three children to bring up.

After her retirement Jean continued to volunteer every day in the school, giving huge support to staff and students.

Mark said: “She is a remarkable lady. We all love her.

“Jean literally travels the extra mile every day, to support a school which she has helped build over the last 46 years.

“She is selfless, humble and according to her ‘Just Jean’. To the staff, children and families, Jean is an inspiration.”

The 80-year-old grandmother-of-three, who lives in Belmont, said: “I am so excited, I just don’t believe this has happened to me. I don’t think I have done anything really to get it, but it is so lovely to be recognised and appreciated in this way.”

Anonther recipient of the BEM is Linda Copeland, 64, from Sacriston in Durham, for public service and services to the people of Durham.

Linda, who works as an officer at the Passport Office, has spent 25 years as a volunteer helping support adults with learning difficulties, as well as improving the health and wellbeing of her colleagues.

Another Durham woman, Wendy Taylor, 67, a JP, has been honoured by the Queen.

Wendy has been made and MBE for voluntary services to the administration of justice.

She started with hospital volunteering, she later became a magistrate, an independent visitor at Aycliffe Secure Children’s Home, lay observer with the Prison Escort Agency and a member of the Independent Monitoring Board at Holme House, Kirklevington and Frankland prisons.

Wendy’s citation, said: “She has had a huge impact over the years and made an immense contribution to public service in the North East.”

Margaret Burns, JP, from Sunderland, who works for HM Revenue and Customs, has been given the MBE for services to benefit recipients.