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Kendal College is extremely proud that its Chair of the Governors, Cath Dutton, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours list 2021 for her services to Education and Training!

Cath was nominated for the honour by Director of Governance Carole Drury, who has worked alongside Cath as part of the Kendal College Board since 2001. Cath has acted as Chair of the Corporation since 2014, where her leadership has been vital in the college's continued development during a period of sustained growth.

Cath's passion for inclusivity and fairness has ensured that Kendal College is seen as a beacon of success for its work with students, helping it secure the 'number one college in the country' in the FE Week league table in 2019.

Kelvin Nash, Principal at Kendal College, said that "Cath will be very humbled by this award, and I am delighted that she has received this recognition. I have witnessed first-hand the loyalty and respect that Cath has earned internally in her role as the Chair of the Corporation and externally in the numerous roles that Cath plays across the county, improving the life chances and opportunities for people of all ages. As Principal, I pay tribute to her and all she has achieved."

Cath deferred retirement from the Corporation in 2020 to support the college through the COVID-19 pandemic, but now deservedly retires in July 2021 after more than 20 years' service. While her time at Kendal College might be coming to an end, as a means of continuing to support the young people of Cumbria, Cath has now secured the role of Careers Hub Manager, working for the Cumbrian LEP and supporting employers, schools and colleges across the county.

On hearing the news that she had received an MBE, Cath's initial reaction was that it was a hoax and even got her husband to check that it was genuine.

After recovering from the shock, Cath said, "The honour is for services to Education and Skills, referring to my role as a volunteer on Kendal College's Board of Governors. I've been fortunate to have been a Governor at the college for the last 20 years, the last seven of those as Chair. The College, staff and students and colleagues on the Board mean a lot to me, and this should really be celebrated by every single person associated with the College, not just me. There are whole teams of people who have made Kendal College what it is today; every college team member works tirelessly to deliver the best experience to all our learners. If it wasn't for the hard work and dedication of the team, it wouldn't be as successful as it is, so this is very much recognition for the whole team. I'm stepping down as Chair of Governors next month and, although it has sometimes been challenging in addition to my day job, I will definitely miss it. I've always been passionate about training and development and have worked in this area for much of my career, which is truly a privilege."

Jon Thedham, the Vice-Chair of the Corporation, stated that "Cath has embodied all that a College needs from a Chair - knowledge, commitment, challenge and support. This recognition is thoroughly deserved."