Forest Gate councillor receives OBE for services to education and the community
PUBLISHED: 13:20 16 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:20 16 June 2014
A retired head teacher who returned to serve as a councillor after many years has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to education and the community.
Dianne Walls lived and taught in Newham for more than 40 years. During that time she also served as a Newham councillor for a total of 12 years beginning in 1978. She stood for election again this year and now represents Forest Gate South.
She retired in 2011 after 12 years as head teacher of Oliver Thomas Nursery School and children’s centre in East Ham, which received an “outstanding” rating from Government inspectors Ofsted under her leadership. She continues to serve as a governor at Chobham Academy and Kay Rowe Nursery School.
She said: “It’s a lovely surprise and came totally out of the blue. When the envelope arrived I thought it was my vote for the local election. I was speechless and stood in the middle of the room with my mouth open.
“Over the years I have been lucky enough to work with some excellent teachers, support staff, parents, governors and most importantly, inspirational children. I regard my success as real team effort and I thank all of them for helping to deliver the best possible outcomes for the children of Newham.”
Dianne also helped to establish Newham’s first Baby Bank, which provides free second-hand baby clothes, equipment and toys to struggling residents. .
Dianne, a mother of three and grandmother to eight, said: “I’d also like to thank my family for their continued love and support. All those times I was not at home because school duties kept me away have been worthwhile.”
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said: “It is Dianne’s commitment to supporting the most vulnerable that marks her out as a respected and valued member of our community. Throughout her time as a local councillor, a long career in teaching and as a loyal Newham resident, she has worked tirelessly to strengthen community cohesion.