Prince Charles hands honours to Pendle people at Buckingham Palace

Mrs Eileen Bleasdale is given a huge cheer during the surprise party at Laneshawbridge Primary School to celebrate her receiving an OBE.'Photo Ben Parsons
Mrs Eileen Bleasdale is given a huge cheer during the surprise party at Laneshawbridge Primary School to celebrate her receiving an OBE.'Photo Ben Parsons
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Two Pendle people who were honoured in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List were presented with their awards by Prince Charles in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Laneshaw Bridge Primary School headteacher Eileen Bleasdale received an OBE for services to education.

Steven Burke

Steven Burke

And Colne-born cyclist Steven Burke was presented with an MBE as reward for his part in Great Britain’s mens quartet winning the gold medal in the team pursuit at the Olympic Games in London last year, breaking two world records in the process.

In recent years, the village school – now housed in a modern new £4 million complex which opened earlier this year – has achieved outstanding results and is widely regarded as one of the best of its size in the country.

It has received three “outstanding” gradings from Ofsted in recent years.

Mrs Bleasdale, who has been head at the Emmott Lane school for a quarter of a century, was given a surprise party by staff and pupils on Monday in recognitiooon of her honour.

The children were all specially dressed in posh gear for the Mad Hatters Tea Party-style event, and party food was served by the kitchen staff in the highly-decorated dining hall.

During the lunch, past pupils from the school recounted highlights from their time.

And this was followed by Mrs Bleasdale telling everyone about her special day, where she sat beside double Olympic gold medallist athlete Mo Farah and also saw Ewan McGregor, Professor Mary Beard from Cambridge University and lots of other people getting their awards.

Mrs Bleasdale said: “It was a wonderful day.

“Prince Charles congratulated me and said he didn’t know how I did it with all the changes in education. He was very nice and friendly.

“I was sat next to Mo Farah and I said to him how honoured I was to be sat beside him after all the success and entertainment he provided at the Olympic Games.

“He asked me what I did and he congratulated me. I also asked him how his family was as I knew his wife had had twins.”

Steven (25), who attended Park High School, Colne, and Nelson and Colne College and whose parents Alvin and Sharon live in Temple Street, Colne, said Friday had been a proud moment for him and his family.

Allowed to take three guests to the ceremony, he was accompanied by his parents and his girlfriend to the Palace.

“It was a very proud day for me and my family,” said Steven.

“I was very pleased to receive the award.

“I spoke with Prince Charles at the ceremony and he knew what I’d done at the Olympics. He seemed to know his cycling.”

Steven had another honour the following day when he was invited to sit in the Royal Box at Wimbledon.

He will be back in his home town a week on Wednesday when he competes in the Colne Grand Prix, a cycle race around the town centre starting at 8pm..

Full details of that event can be found on page 7.