A HOLCOMBE Brook woman who has devoted the past 40 years of her life to a Bury school has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Mrs Pamela Simpson, aged 75, worked as a secretary at Old Hall Primary in Springside View for 20 years.

But since retiring in 1994, she has become a much-loved volunteer at the school, acting as a reader helper, accompanying pupils on trips, as well as designing and creating costumes for school productions.

Mrs Simpson, of Westgate Avenue, whose husband David died in March and has two children Paul and Colin, received the British Empire Medal (BEM) is in recognition of her services to the community.

She said: “I have been associated with Old Hall Primary for 40 years. I worked as a secretary there for 20 years and then as a volunteer for the past 20 years. I listen to the children read, do their costumes for plays and go on trips with them.”

Mrs Simpson is particularly passionate about her role as a volunteer reader helper which sees her work one-to-one with pupils twice a week.

“To me, a child who can’t read can’t do a lot of things. I listen to them read and help them read. I love my voluntary work at the school which I’ve been involved in since I retired in 1994.”

Commenting on the BEM award, Mrs Simpson added: “I got a letter six weeks ago, saying I’d been put forward and it was all hush-hush after that. I can honestly say it’s come as very much of a shock. It’s an honour, but I’m sort of gobsmacked. Why me? I’m no different to anyone else.”

Mrs Simpson was born in Bromley, Kent, and educated at a grammar school in Buckinghamshire. She came to the Bury area 43 years ago.

On Tuesday, Old Hall Primary School headteacher Mrs Deborah Ainscoe announced the news of the BEM to the 158 pupils at an assembly.

She said: “Mrs Simpson is a lovely lady and is really dedicated to the school, coming in twice a week. She reads with the children, goes on trips and is our wardrobe mistress, making and designing costumes for all our productions. She has been a real asset to the school.

“She is very supportive and works with all the other teachers. She loves coming to the school, always has and always will do. It was a lovely surprise when she told me about the honour. All the staff have been congratulating her. ”