Marilyn fears COVID-19 backlog may delay Buckingham Palace honours visit

An NI lecturer, who has been honoured with an MBE, is unsure if she will be given the award at Buckingham Palace due to the COVID-19 backlog.

Marilyn Warren, from Tandragee in Co Armagh, is to be awarded an MBE for services to education and children.

Mrs Warren revealed that those who were awarded honours last year have yet to receive them and ‘there is a bit of a backlog’.

“At the present moment they can’t say exactly when it will be but I think it would be well towards the end of this year,” said Marilyn, a lecturer at the Southern Regional College.

Marilyn Warren with Princess Anne.Marilyn Warren with Princess Anne.
Marilyn Warren with Princess Anne.

Now living in Mullavilly, the 66-year-old started as a teacher at Tullygally PS in Craigavon in 1976 and after 22 years moved to the Belfast Education and Library Board where she was an advisor on primary education.

She moved to the CCEA where she led a team that developed the NI curriculum for primary schools which is still used today.

During this time she was seconded to the Department of Education developing its Early Years Strategy.“I worked with the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers on a child care strategy for NI.”

She added: “Then I went back to CCEA after secondment and led the primary and post primary teams in developing assessment arrangements for Key Stages 1,2 and 3.

“Then they sent around an email asking if anyone wanted to take early retirement,” said Marilyn.

“That was in May 2011. I had a few months off and felt bored. I needed to do something. So I applied for the part time register at the Southern Regional College and I have been working there ever since.

“I delivered some Institute for Leadership and Management courses but my main work for SRC has been the level 5 diploma for Early Years and Childcare sector,” said Marilyn, explaining that it is a mandatory qualification for leaders, deputies and managers of child care units.

She revealed around 300 people have been through the course.

In 2018 Marilyn was awarded a Medal of Excellence for her delivery of this course by City and Guilds.

In January 2019 she was named UK Lecturer of the Year, presented with that honour by Princess Anne.

“I just love being with the children. It is one of the things I do miss,” said Marilyn who has also been a Sunday School teacher in St Mark’s Ballymore for 42 years.

“Because I really enjoy it, I take the three to four year olds. I just love being with them on a Sunday morning.”

Married to Leslie, the couple have three children, Jennifer in London, Kathryn who is a teacher in Belfast and Andrew who is also in London.

Marilyn has no thoughts on retiring just yet however she is working less hours due to caring responsibilities for her mother Elizabeth Smyth who is almost 90 and aunts and uncles. “She was a big help when the kids were small.”

Marilyn also divides her time with her husband’s business. “He has a training company, running project management courses.”

Brian Doran, Principal and Chief Executive at Southern Regional College said; “I am absolutely thrilled to hear that Marilyn has received an MBE for her services to education and children. Marilyn has dedicated her life to teaching others and her career has spanned 45 years working in primary to higher education. She is a member of staff whose enthusiasm and passion for her area of expertise is infectious and consistently goes above and beyond to meet the needs of her students. On behalf of the College’s Senior Management Team and Governing Body, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Marilyn.”





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