She’s been “mum” to more than a thousand boys during her 30-year career at the William Henry Smith School in Brighouse.
Now Liz Blackburn, who lives at Rastrick, has received the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours in recognition of her work in the school’s housekeeping department.
The school provides education and care for 60 boys with special education needs from all over the north of England.
Colleagues hailed Liz as an unsung hero at the school who had a hugely positive direct impact on the lives of well over a thousand boys in helping ensure their dignity and welfare and providing one-to-one support.
Said a spokesperson: “She has gained this award for being a hardworking, committed and innovative person, predominantly working behind the scenes and is the unsung hero of our school.
She missed the boys at the school so much that she returned after officially retiring to take the role of house mother, working with the students and continuing to have a positive impact on their lives.
In recent years she helped raise thousands of pounds for local hospices, an orphanage in Tanzania and a local special school.
Students praised Liz for making them feel at home when they arrive at the school, instilling self-belief and cheering them up.