Janet Hickinbottom, National Education Officer at Farming and Countryside Education since its inception in 2002, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours for services to farming, countryside education and rural communities.
Farming and Countryside Education (FACE)’s charitable aim is to work with schools and farmers to make sure children understand the connection between farming and their daily lives. Janet’s role as National Education Officer has been instrumental in achieving this aim over the last 15 years, and continues to be so.
Janet has worked tirelessly to grow and sustain the charity through fundraising, promotion, development of highly regarded educational resources, and coordinating the regional teams. Her professionalism and experience as a qualified teacher have ensured that teacher training and schools materials offered by FACE are of the highest quality and win the trust of the teaching profession.
Janet is particularly known for her skills of diplomacy and tact, which have facilitated and encouraged much collaboration within the sector, such as the Access to Farms group, the Year of Food and Farming and more recently, the Countryside Classroom initiative. Her warm manner has been a source of comfort and encouragement to the many farm members who have sought her advice.
In addition to her inspiring work at FACE, Janet is committed to supporting and developing rural life and education in her local community. As Secretary for her village’s Residents’ Association for fifteen years she has been a stalwart supporter of the organisation. She has also demonstrated lasting support to the local school through being Clerk for the School Governors for the last thirteen years, members of which body speak highly of her. More recently she co-founded a village choir and resourcefully secured funding for its establishment. Further dedicated to making a difference, for over 20 years Janet took unpaid time off work to volunteer for the Warwickshire Museum Service to host educational sessions for young people.
Janet said: “Of course I am delighted to have been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List but more than that I am very moved to discover the number of people who were involved in submitting and supporting the nomination. These friends and colleagues come from my working life in my role at Farming & Countryside Education (FACE) and in my personal life where I volunteer within my local community. I am very grateful to them all and hope that they feel their efforts have been worthwhile!”
The Chief Executive of FACE, Dan Corlett said: “Janet is the cornerstone of everything FACE achieves and the impact the charity has had on educating young people about food, farming and the countryside. Because she is so humble, Janet is often overlooked despite her achievements being critical to the success of those around her who have been recognised.
Janet’s capacity to give is boundless, both in work and in her local community, and her enthusiasm and commitment have a lasting effect on those around her, as well as the nation as a whole.”