Queen's Birthday Honours: MBE for "Mrs Barnsley" Mel Dyke
INSPIRATIONAL educator, author, arts, heritage and charity campaigner Mel Dyke is affectionately know in her home town as "Mrs Barnsley".
Now she can put a MBE after it.
The 82-year-old retired teacher said she was "absolutely thrilled and shocked" to be recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours today for her services to culture in Barnsley.
She started out as a bank worker and, despite not having a degree, she went on to teach for 27-years, becoming a deputy head, a teacher training lecturer and guest lecturer at Emory University Georgia and UCLA.
Mel, of Staincross, a miners daughter, also used real life stories of high achievers from the pit town to help raise aspirations - detailed in her books such as Grimethorpe Revival: Famous faces support a coalfield community.
She established the Arts in Action charity in 2007 and was instrumental in setting up Experience Barnsley Museum. She is a honorary patron of Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
As chair of the Board of Trustees of the Lamproom Theatre, she oversaw the conversion of a disused building to become a community theatre.
Mel was a teacher at Athersley Lawrence Briggs Infants, Darton High School, The Oaks in Kendray and was deputy head at Grimethorpe's Willowgarth High School.
She was a lecturer at Bretton Hall College of Education, where playwright John Godber was one of her students.
Of her MBE the mum of two, who has five grand children and a great grandchild, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled. I am also genuinely surprised.
"Culture and the arts have been a big part of my life. I've used the stories of high achievers from the town to help inspire others - to dream realistically."