A childminder member of PACEY has been awarded the British Empire Medal in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The Bishop’s Stortford-based childminder, Sandy Evans, has received the prestigious award, defined as ‘being awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown’, for her services to childminding.
During her 20 years as a childminder, Sandy has looked after 40 children; the first of whom recently turned 21 - Sandy attended his birthday celebrations.
She was first made aware of the honour in a letter from the Cabinet Office received in May, which explained that ‘the Prime Minister was putting forward a nomination for a British Empire Medal for her to the Queen’.
Sandy said: “It’s difficult to put into words what receiving this honour means. I feel overwhelmed and humbled that I should receive such an accolade.
“Childminding has been a huge and enjoyable part of my life for almost 20 years. What started out as a means of earning extra income while my own three children were young has developed into a career I have enjoyed immensely and which I wouldn't swap for any other.
“It gave me the inspiration to develop my skills and knowledge and led me to attain first the NVQ3 and then the Foundation Degree in Early Years.
"I cannot think of another job where the day starts with everyone smiling, as the children run eagerly up the drive, and where you’re always guaranteed to laugh.”
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said: “I have no doubt that Sandy is extremely proud of this honour and so she should be.
"I want to congratulate her on behalf of all of PACEY’s members. Like all childcare professionals, Sandy is doing an amazingly rewarding but also difficult job as a registered childminder.
"Practitioners in all settings are working hard to give children the best start in life, often for little recognition or reward. This honour not only recognises Sandy’s achievement but also helps to raise awareness of the professionalism and dedication of all practitioners.”