Published: Friday, 7th June 2019

A ceramics tutor who has been teaching adult learners for more than 40 years has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to community learning.

Mary Chapman, 69, from Walderslade, has been teaching ceramics and pottery at Medway Adult Education in Rochester since 1988 but has been teaching for 40 years. 

She has been awarded the British Empire Medal in Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours List. 

Medway Adult Education runs number of courses which cover a broad range of topics including creative courses such as pottery and ceramics, drawing and painting, special interest courses like history and psychology, health and wellbeing sessions as well as language and digital skills.  

There are two centres in Gillingham and Rochester which offer lifelong learning courses. There are also supported learning programmes for people with additional needs and life skills and employability courses. 

'It's an incredible feeling'

Mary said: “I was shocked when I received the nomination, I thought someone was having a joke with me when I got the letter. My job is my passion and I can’t quite believe that I’ve been given this honour for doing my job. I was teaching before I went to college and I’ve been teaching ever since. I’ve taught hundreds of students and I’ve still got some in my classes who have been there for 20-odd years. It’s an incredible feeling and I’m still wrapping my head around it. I would encourage anyone, no matter their age, to find out more about the classes that Medway Adult Education offers - there is so much they can do.” 

'I am thrilled that Mary has received this prestigious honour'

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “I am thrilled that Mary has received this prestigious honour. Mary is an extremely well valued member of the Medway Adult Education team. She has had a direct impact on the lives of hundreds of learners and they are at the heart of everything she does. Not only has Mary helped adults re-engage with education but she has also helped them develop confidence to explore other courses. Medway Adult Education runs a number of courses which cover a broad range of topics for all abilities.”

To find out more about Medway Adult Education, and to find a course, visit www.medway.gov.uk/mae

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