A Lostock Hall mum has been rubbing shoulders with top parliamentarians after receiving a surprise award.
Joy Rebecca Helliwell was invited to a glittering event at the Houses of Parliament where she was named Teacher of the Year by Commons speaker John Bercow.
The former Tarleton High School and Runshaw College student teaches citizenship and RE at a high school in Bolton and was nominated for the accolade in the Your UK Parliament Awards, without her knowledge.
The awards celebrate the work of people all over the UK who make a difference in their communities and beyond. Winners were chosen by the Speaker of the House of Commons, a judging panel of MPs, peers and independent judges.
Joy said: “We do a lot of work on politics in citizenship but this was quite a surprise.
“I got a phone call from Parliament a couple of weeks before the award ceremony and thought I had been nominated but the woman on the other of the phone said I had misunderstood. She was telling me I had won Teacher of the Year category.”
She was at the ceremony with her partner Shaun, colleagues and family when the speaker made a bee-line for her two year old daughter Eden.
Joy said: “It was amazing. He was really lovely. He spoke to us all individually.”
David Clark, head of education and engagement at UK Parliament, said: “All the winners have made a huge difference in their communities and beyond, and importantly will also inspire others to get involved and make their voices heard in democracy.
“The Your UK Parliament Awards recognise the successes of those who go above and beyond to engage others with Parliament and democracy, and everyone who won an award should be immensely proud.”