Southwold: Awards praise rolls in for ‘the reading granny’

More than 370 of the most dedicated educationalists in Suffolk have now been nominated for the Raising the Bar awards.

The last week has seen the number of nominations double with some people nominated several times and across multiple categories.

One of those is Betty Richardson, nicknamed ‘the reading granny’ by pupils at Southwold Primary School, who has been nominated five times across the Volunteer of the Year and Significant Contribution to Education in Suffolk categories.

Mrs Richardson has been volunteering at Southwold Primary School for 16 years helping children to enjoy books. She comes in every morning and asks the children to read to her for one hour, providing helpful tips, guidance and encouragement for them in a reading diary.

One nominator said of her: “I feel that her unselfish support and volunteering has definitely impacted a lot on children. She has quietly and subtly made a massive difference.”

While another said: “Betty has seen many methods and fads in reading come and go and has remained constant in her enthusiasm and encouragement.”

Several parents commented that Mrs Richardson’s enthusiasm had made a significant impact on their child’s reading ability.

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“Betty is an incredible lady and an inspiration to the pupils (and parents) at Southwold School,” said one. “She is wonderfully warm, enthusiastic and, above all, happy. My very shy four-year-old daughter adores reading to her every Wednesday.”

Another said: “She has provided an amazing service and helped so many children over the years – surely this wonderful lady deserves some recognition for the time she has given up.”

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said: “Many people think that these awards are just about schools. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We’re looking for great examples from across the world of education, be that in schools, nurseries, child care, business and voluntary sector.”

The deadline for entries to the Raising the Bar awards is February 28 with the winners being announced on Friday, March 27.