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Lecturers given royal seal of approval

Ruth Robinson and Dot Dixon with their official royal garden party invitations

Three Sunderland College lecturers have been shown the royal treatment by Her Majesty the Queen at one of her famous Buckingham Palace garden parties.

Dot Dixon, Ruth Robinson and Janet Dinsdale were invited by The Lord Chamberlain to the regal event to recognise the contributions they have made to their students and Sunderland College over the years.

Held on Tuesday (May 12) in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the three lecturers were among 8,000 guests who were specially selected to attend the party, hosted by the Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

They were treated to tea and cakes in the palace’s gardens, while the Queen, Prince Philip and other members of the royal party greeted guests who travelled from across the UK to be part of the traditional event.

Dot Dixon, from Seaham, has worked at the college for 32 years as a business lecturer and attended the event with her husband, Derick, after being nominated by her colleagues.

She has taught on a range of business courses during her time at the college, and her royal invitation was in recognition of the support she has given to her students, her caring and inspirational approach to teaching as well as consistently going the ‘extra mile’.

She said: “I was absolutely delighted to be invited, and my husband and son are extremely proud. The reaction from students has been quite overwhelming – they thought it was a great honour and I even got a round of applause from one group! It was a fantastic experience and I feel very lucky to have had the privilege of attending such an event.”

Maths and science lecturer, Ruth Robinson, has worked tirelessly to ensure the success of her students since joining Sunderland College in 2013.

Ruth, from Peterlee, is described as an ‘inspirational role model’ by her colleagues who nominated her for the honour, and she was also recognised for the maths support she gives to staff and her community work, including her 32-year involvement with The Guide Association.

She said: “It was an honour and privilege to represent the college at the garden party at what was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was fortunate enough to get a front row view of the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles , HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Edward and HRH The Countess of Wessex and the other members of the royal party as they filed out at the end of the event about six feet in front of me. It is an event I will remember with pleasure for the rest of my life.”

Janet, from Easington Village, has worked at the college for 11 years and teaches ICT. Described as a ‘well respected’ lecturer, she was invited to the party in recognition of her quality teaching, enthusiasm and her ability to always rise to new challenges.

She said: “I was absolutely thrilled to be invited and to be recognised for my work. I take my role very seriously and I believe every student deserves the best you can give. I hope that over the years I have helped students fully realise their potential, and that I have contributed enough of my knowledge and time to have made some positive effects for staff and students alike.

“The day itself was fabulous.  I felt very honoured to be there hobnobbing with the royal family, generals, chiefs of staff and bishops – it was quite overwhelming.”

Anne Isherwood, principal of Sunderland College, said: “It is a real honour for Dot, Ruth and Janet to be recognised for their commitment and hard work, which reflects the ethos of all of the staff at the college. The success of their students over the years is testament to the unwavering support and the excellent teaching provided by Dot, Ruth and Janet, who are totally dedicated to their work.

“At Sunderland College, we pride ourselves on helping students to achieve their goals, and we can only do this because of our exceptional staff. I’m sure Dot, Ruth and Janet will never forget this experience and everyone at the college is thrilled that they have been given this opportunity.”

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