Two South Tyneside education chiefs get gongs in Queen's Birthday Honours

Two education leaders from South Tyneside have been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 10:30 pm
(l-r) Graeme Thompson and John Hardy have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday honours

Headteacher John Hardy, of East Boldon, and Sunderland University pro-vice chancellor Graeme Thompson, from South Shields, are both to be given gongs after being named in the honours list, revealed on June 11.

Mr Hardy, who is headteacher at St John Vianney RC Primary School in Hartlepool, has been made an OBE his services to education.

He said: “It’s a bit embarrassing. There are so many people who should be on it and you wonder why you’re on it.

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John Hardy

"I think more or less everyone I know should get a medal after this pandemic.

"You really think ‘There are so many people who are much more deserving’.”

The school leader, who previously taught at St Anne’s RC Primary School in Sunderland, added: "It feels strange, especially when you work in a school, you’ve watched the community struggle through this pandemic.

"Teachers, and support staff, and everybody connected with school have way above and beyond than what’s expected of them to help out.

Graeme Thompson, who will be given an MBE

"You think all these people should be getting medals for what they’ve gone through in the last year and a bit.

"My dad just died over a month ago. He would’ve thought that it was very funny that I’ve got an honour.”

Mr Thompson, 64, who is also chairman of the Cultural Spring project in South Tyneside and Sunderland and the Royal Television Society’s education committee, gains an MBE for services to cultural regeneration.

His honour was specifically for his work in Sunderland’s cultural regeneration.

He said: "I’m honoured to have been singled out for this award but I share it with so many friends and colleagues who’ve worked over the past decade to re-imagine the city’s cultural landscape.”

Originally from South Shields, Graeme joined the University of Sunderland in 2009 after a career with the BBC and ITV.

A trustee of the Customs House in South Shields and the North East and Yorkshire Film and Television Archive, he is a member of council for the Creative Industries Federation and for Arts Council North, a board member for the North East Culture Partnership and Sunderland Business Improvement District.

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