Dundee teacher Eileen Haggarty has been rewarded in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.
Mrs Haggarty becomes a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for services to education and to the community in Dundee during Covid-19.
She will be remembered by many a Dundonian from their school years, having taught English for around 30 years at schools including Lawside Academy and St Paul’s Academy, in the city.
Of her medal, she said: “I’m proud but also very astonished.
“There was no mention of anything of this sort, but it seems people from Dundee do make it eventually.”
Mrs Haggarty, originally from Airdrie, trained at Glasgow University and began teaching in Easterhouse in 1972. She was only 27 when she became principal teacher.
She also taught in Edinburgh, where husband George was depute head teacher at Holy Rood RC High School.
The couple, who have three children and one great-grandchild, moved to Dundee when Mr Haggarty became head teacher at St John’s RC High School.
Mrs Haggarty began teaching at Lawside and was there when the school celebrated its centenary in 2007.
Lawside closed in 2008 when it merged with St Saviour’s RC High School and Mrs Haggarty taught at St Paul’s Academy, which took their place, for six months before she retired.
She looks back on her career with pride for her pupils, saying: “You are proud when your children achieve their Highers, that kind of thing. You get lots of surprises and the nice surprises always outweigh the less happy ones.”
Many more people would come before her for an honour from the Queen, she reckons, but added: “It’s nice to see someone from the average ranks getting this.”
In true English teacher style, Mrs Haggarty declined to reveal her age, quoting Oscar Wilde’s phrase: “One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age.”
The couple, who live in Broughty Ferry, plan to celebrate her award during a New Year’s Day family gathering.