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Former Governor awarded MBE

Former East Kent College Governing Body Chair, Beverly Aitken, has been awarded an MBE for her services to the community and further education in this year’s queen’s birthday honours list.

Beverley first joined the College’s Governing body in 1990, remaining a member until 2012 when she became Chair. During her tenure as the Chair, she helped grow the educational opportunities the College gives, taking it from its single Broadstairs campus to a multi-site College which served the communities of Dover and Folkestone. As Chair of the Governing Body, Beverley then helped to drive the transformation of the two campuses, which had been the two worst performing in the country when they were merged with East Kent College. Within just three years, the performance of the campuses was improved so much, the whole College achieved an Ofsted ‘Good’ grading.

She continued the work to grow the College when she became Chair of the Board which was overseeing the merger between Canterbury College and East Kent College, finally standing down as Chair and a Governor when the two had successfully become the EKC Group.

Beverley said: “It was a total shock to receive the letter about the honour. I was so amazed to have been put me forward. I have been involved with the College as a Governor in one guise or another for over 20 years, as well as being one of the College’s students. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my work with the College, the Board and staff, as well as my involvement with our students. I’m proud to have helped the College evolve and develop into the formidable one that it is now, providing opportunities for young people across the whole of East Kent.

“Throughout my time as a Governor, it has given me great joy to see the transformative impact which education can have on people’s lives, and it is because of this that I have happily given my time and energy. I have gained as much as I have given, both personally and professionally and it has provided me with some incredible and inspirational experiences. It was a real privilege to lead the Board over the last few years and to see the merger with Canterbury College, and the creation of the new EKC Group, through to fruition.”

Graham Razey, Group Principal and Chief Executive of EKC Group said: “Beverley’s commitment to enhancing the communities we serve was unwavering during her time as an East Kent College Governor. She presided over some major changes within the College, ensuring that a generation of young people have had the best technical and vocational education available. It’s fantastic to see her efforts rewarded with this honour.”

Beverley’s work also extends to a number of other voluntary organisations. She is the current treasurer of the Margate Rotary Club, and was also its President between 2014-15. She is also a Director of the Michael Yoakley charity in Margate, which runs the alms houses and a care home next to the QEQM hospital.

Beverley continued: “It is really special to have been nominated, and an incredible feeling to receive this award.”