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Group’s former Deputy CEO awarded British Empire Medal

A long-standing member of EKC Group has been recognised in the New Year Honours after enhancing the lives of many thousands of Kent’s residents. 

The Group’s former Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Anne Leese was recognised by King Charles III for ‘services to education and the East Kent Community’, reflecting her passion for voluntary activities and promoting educational opportunities across the region. 

Anne retired last year after a 28-year career within the Group, having been instrumental in forming the Group as we know it today. 

Mrs Leese has been central to shaping and enhancing curriculum across our Colleges, promoting excellent outcomes for learners of all ages across East Kent. With Anne at the helm, our acquisition and overhaul of K College’s Dover and Folkestone Campuses saw them quickly go from an ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted rating to Good’ with outstanding features.

Alongside her work within the Group, Anne also acted as a member of the Association of College’s Quality Committee, helping raise standards across the whole sector. 

Anne has also been a huge champion of initiatives that enriched the wider East Kent communities the Group serves, such as our award-winning social action programme, that has delivered more than 2,000 projects since 2015. This ties into her external voluntary work, which has seen many thousands of benefactors in the communities she serves. She helped lead Millmead Children’s Centre for many years, ensuring support for one of the most deprived wards in the UK. Her unstinting work in this area has helped the centre grow, delivering vital services to many young families in the area. Alongside that Anne also acted as a trustee of the Margate Football Academy, and a board member for a community hub in Ramsgate, showcasing her zeal to passionately support local initiatives and enhance the social prosperity of the area.  

Upon hearing she had received the BEM for services to education and the East Kent Community, Anne said: “I was shocked, but absolutely delighted to receive this honour. I worked in Education for most of my career and absolutely loved every minute. I have seen how education can significantly enrich lives and contribute to our local communities.  

“It has been a privilege to have worked with many dedicated people but one who needs special mention is Graham Razey OBE. Graham has been an inspiration to me in striving to make Further Education in East Kent outstanding and inclusive for all.”