A teacher who has instilled a passion for singing among hundreds of youngsters has been awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.
Alison North, of Birkby, who conducts the multi-award winning choir at Lindley Junior School, is recognised for services to education.
And she is the third member of her family to receive the honour. Both her uncle and aunt, retired teachers Richard and Julia Moss, received the MBE some years back for services to music in Nairobi, Kenya, where they have lived for many years.
Speaking about her own award, Alison said: “I was told in late November and I was sworn to secrecy. I don’t know how I’ve managed to keep my mouth shut about it, but I have. It’s absolutely thrilling. It has come out of the blue. It’s very flattering. Who wouldn’t want to be recognised for their work?”
Alison began her teaching career at Scholes Primary School in Leeds, where she taught for nine years, but it was when she took up a post as form teacher at Lindley that her love of music found a new outlet with the formation of the school choir in 1999.
Alison credits Pat Thompson, who was headteacher at the time, for getting the ball rolling. “A lot of it was down to Pat Thompson,” she said. “She was the driving force in many ways. Before coming to Lindley I had never done anything like that. She asked me to do it, she ‘nudged’ me.”
In its 18 years under Alison’s leadership, Lindley Junior School Choir has won numerous choir competitions and performed at many concerts. Among its accolades, it was named Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year in 2016. In the same year, the young singers lifted the Junior Choir of the Year title at the national Barnardo’s Choir Festival and the Arthur Rooke Cup at Huddersfield’s Mrs Sunderland Festival.
Said Alison: “We have won everything there is to win nationally in our age group – most of them twice. It is something that has evolved year after year. I work like I work and the children become so responsive. It’s not just the choir, it’s when the whole school of 500 children sing.”
Alison also runs Lindley Community Choir, which has been going for eight or nine years and has 150 members of all ages. She also works with the Huddersfield Choral Society Youth Choir.
Alison said: “I’m absolutely passionate about it. I am a perfectionist to the ‘nth degree’, but I make sure it’s fun and there are lots of smiles.”