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".

Friday, 7th June 2019, 10:35 pm
Updated Friday, 7th June 2019, 11:37 pm
Mel Dyke gets a MBE
Mel Dyke gets a MBE

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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

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.

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."