A former teacher who has taught in mainstream and special needs schools across the county has been awarded an honorary degree.
Maureen Ake, who lives in Scalford, was given a Bachelor of Education (Honours) degree by the University of Roehampton in London.
The schoolteacher of over 40 years has worked at The Mount School in Leicester and Ashmount School in Loughborough, amongst other places.
Maureen, known previously as Mrs Stubbs to colleagues and former pupils, said: “It’s the biggest accolade I’ve ever been given and to be nominated is very flattering.”
In 1967, when Maureen first graduated she taught mainstream education subjects french and art, but its her years spent as acting head teacher of The Mount School that she so fondly remembers and enjoyed.
She said: “It’s always been a joy working with children. Special needs children are like little growing buds, when you dedicate your time to improving their futures it’s the most rewarding feeling.
“I feel very honoured to have been part of their lives.”
Maureen’s honorary degree nomination came as a shock and a blessing in disguise. Her daughter Rachael died in January. After the funeral she received a letter from the university which she thought was a joke, so ignored it. It wasn’t until three weeks later when friends from the university got in touch with her that she started to believe it.
“It was a massive pick-me -up after Rachael’s death,” said Maureen.
“When Rachael died it was the most horrific time, so it’s nice to receive the award for something I never applied for.”
Maureen was presented with her accolade at the Royal Festival Hall in London. She travelled down with friends and family and hired a gown for the day. Maureen met people from the past and went through old photos during a champagne reception.
“It was the most joyful happy situation and nice to reminisce with people I hadn’t seen for a long time.”
Maureen has been retired for two years. She now spends the majority of her time with her four grandchildren.