Former Hereford Trinity School teacher Sue Cole was honoured in the New Year’s Honours list with the awarding of an MBE.

Sue who taught for 42 years spoke to Matt from Your Herefordshire and told him how she found out about the award.

“I was driving to Morrisons to do some shopping in November and had a phone call from a Civil Servant. I thought at first it was a scam, so I was quite blunt to the lady on the phone called Angela but she assured me it wasn’t a scam and that they had been trying to contact me for weeks. However, they had been unable to contact me as they were using an old email address. Angela then sent me the email to my correct address. I was absolutely shaking when I read it and couldn’t believe it at first, I finished my shopping and got home to have a proper look on my computer.”

Kindle Centre Hereford

Sue continues, “I was sworn to secrecy about the MBE and being a naturally chatty person I found it hard not to tell anyone, but when the news broke I was so relieved and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone!”

Back in the 2000’s Sue had travelled to Kenya on holiday and was shocked to see that children were being educated in appalling conditions. Sue said, “I remember seeing the nursery class in a village called Kickambala being taught under a tree, they also didn’t have uniforms, what we did immediately was build four classrooms, then we would go to the local town and get building materials and we built a school. The local hotel were really supportive too, I would host talks to the tourists about the project that we were building literally down the road from where the hotel was based.”

School in Kenya

We asked Sue how she obtained the money for this.

“I cannot thank our sponsors enough, it was local people in my village of Westhope and other people around the UK. We also had local businesses sponsor children and when we went out to Kenya we would get each child to record a video message to their sponsor and would send it out to them to show what their money had paid for.”

The children at Trinity Primary School were also involved in the project.

“When I would come back from a trip to Kenya I would show the children in Hereford videos of what we were doing out there, they would then want to support the project and would donate things like stationery and books. They could see how much of a difference they were making and were a great help, we then built up a link between the two schools.

School in Kenya

Sue is also involved in Hereford Parkinson’s Society.

“My husband has Parkinson’s and we meet up at the Kindle Centre and have various groups. I have been helping out there for twelve years now, we have various groups like a singing group and exercise classes.”

We asked Sue what it meant to her to be awarded the MBE.

“It’s been over a decade of pure joy, seeing some of the students over in Kenya now being accepted to go to university is amazing, it was really hard work in the early days, but to see it all come to fruition was worth it. I cannot thank the sponsors enough, plus the Headteacher at Trinity Primary School. Mr Lowe was very supportive, the pupils were brilliant too and I want to dedicate the MBE to them all.”

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