Horton Bank Top and Bingley women honoured at Palace for community work

Horton Bank Top and Bingley women honoured at Palace for community work

Pat Bleau is made an MBE by the Duke of Cambridge

Louise Smith is made a CBE by the Duke of Cambridge

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Chief Reporter

A mother who campaigns about the dangers of drugs and a former headteacher have received royal recognition for their work with young people.

Pat Bleau and Louise Smith were at Buckingham Palace yesterday to receive an MBE and CBE respectively from the Duke of Cambridge.

Foster carer Mrs Bleau, of Horton Bank Top, Bradford, set up the Chantelle Bleau Memorial Fund to warn school pupils about legal and illegal highs after her teenage daughter died sniffing lighter gas. Her MBE is for services to children, young people and families.

Chantelle, 16, was a popular teenager who had landed a lead role in a play with an anti-drugs message, which she felt strongly about. But she died after experimenting with friends in 1997.

Mrs Bleau said her daughter’s death led her to spread the message about the dangers of legal highs.

“I’ve done a lot of work with young people,” the 59-year-old said, adding that Chantelle’s story really affected people.

“You read about stories like it in the newspaper and you just read it and that’s it, but when you have a real life story, they really do respond to that.”

Since Mrs Bleau launched the Fund she has received various awards recognising and supporting her work.

“It’s been an interesting journey and I’ve met a lot of interesting people,” she said.

“It took a lot of years to deal with it and try and come to terms with it. It’s like learning to walk again, but with only one leg. That’s how I can only describe it.”

Former Keighley school head teacher Louise Smith was also awarded the CBE for services to education.

The executive headteacher at Long Lee and Ingrow Primary Schools Federation retired in December 2012, but still does some part-time education work.

Mrs Smith, who lives in Bingley, spent 33 years as a teacher and started her career as a history teacher at St Aidan’s Secondary School in Harrogate.

She worked in Bradford and Keighley for 30 years, and became head of Swire Smith Middle School in January 1997, then head of Long Lee Primary at the same site in 2000.

Mrs Smith served as executive head of the Long Lee and Ingrow Primary Schools Federation for three years, overseeing progress at both schools.

On her retirement, Mrs Smith joined Bradford Primary Improvement Partnership to co-ordinate its leadership programme for school heads and deputies.

Mrs Bleau said: “It has been good, it was an interesting day – a proud moment for me.

“I think it is a tribute to the work we have done and the education programmes we have put in place.”

The MBE was presented by Prince William, who Mrs Bleau described as “really nice and really charming”.

“I talked to him for a good few minutes,” said Mrs Bleau.

“He asked me about fostering. I found him to be really nice.”

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