New Year’s Honours Award for WHSS Staff Member

The William Henry Smith School Housekeeper, Liz Blackburn is awarded with BEM

Liz Blackburn worked in the housekeeping department at the William Henry Smith School in West Yorkshire for over 30 years. During this time, she had a hugely positive direct impact on the lives of well over 1,000 boys from across the North of England with Special Education Needs, helping ensure their dignity & welfare. Liz always found it possible to look behind specific behaviours and get the best possible outcomes for the boys. She has gained this award for being a hardworking, committed and innovative person, predominantly working behind the scenes and is the unsung hero of the school. She has fantastic relationships with the students which enabled her to get involved in 1:1 support work and thoroughly enjoyed this, even though it was different from her core role.

In recent years she helped raise thousands of pounds for local hospices, an orphanage in Tanzania and a local Special School. The WHSS were really thrilled when Liz decided to come back after her retirement in the role of House Mother. This allows her to work directly with the students and continue to have a positive impact on their lives. ‘She missed the boys so much’, that sums her up really!

Some quotes from the students at the William Henry Smith School:

‘I was really apprehensive when I first came to this school but Mrs Blackburn made me feel at home.’

‘Mrs B helped me take pride in my appearance which raised my self-esteem.’

‘Whenever I was down Mrs B could always cheer me up and make me laugh.’

‘I lacked so much confidence I couldn’t have my photo taken but Mrs Blackburn helped me believe in myself and then I ended up on stage performing in school panto.’

‘I really missed my Mum when I came to this school but Mrs Blackburn helped me through that and was there for me.’

Liz deserves the honour of this award, we have nothing but admiration for her.

Her enthusiasm is contagious and she is adored by the students.

(Article by S. Stewart, 4th January 2017)