A WOMAN who has devoted her working life to the development of young children has been awarded the OBE.

Sheila Meadows, 62, an influential former head of Caia Park Nursery, lives in the Moss area of Wrexham.

She said she was ‘gobsmacked’ to receive the OBE, adding: “I never expected anything like this.”

Mrs Meadows was born and raised in Scotland where she qualified as a domestic science teacher at the age of 21.

Her first job was with Voluntary Services Overseas in Uganda, teaching domestic science to trainee primary school teachers.

On returning to the UK she taught the same subject in Edinburgh for two years and met her future husband Mike, from Brymbo.

The couple and their baby son later moved to Brunei where Mike, a lecturer in electrical engineering, helped to set up the country’s university.

After seven years the family moved back to the UK to settle in Wrexham, where they brought up sons, Christopher, Gareth and Ken.

Mrs Meadows worked for a number of years in the Traveller education service, helping the children of the travelling community to get into school.

From 1997 until her retirement in 2007, she was head of Caia Park Nursery and during this time was closely involved in the formulation of the new Foundation curriculum for three to seven year olds, which was piloted there.

Since her retirement Mrs Meadows has continued to work on support material for the curriculum, called Play to Learn.

She is also training teachers from across Wales as part of a programme on early childhood strategies at Yale College in Wrexham.

Apart from her work she likes to spend time with her children and new grand-daughter, Isobel.

Mrs Meadows said: “I have had a fantastic time during my career in education and feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to do all those things.

“I am also honoured and privileged to have been awarded the OBE. Actually, I am gobsmacked to get it as I never expected anything like this.

“I will now have to get a special frock for the investiture, which I believe will be at Buckingham Palace.”

Wynnstay councillor Malcolm King said: “She is a fantastic person and I am thrilled she has received this award.

“She made Caia Park one of the leading nurseries in Wales if not the whole of the UK.”