A POPULAR member of staff at a Barrhead school was beaming with pride as he collected his MBE from the Queen.

Joe Herd, who is head of social justice and community at St Luke’s High, was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for services to community cohesion, education and charity.

The 58-year-old received the honour at the Palace of Holyrood House, in Edinburgh, yesterday and hopes the award spreads the message that school is about more than just studying for exams and is an opportunity to learn about life, society and world affairs.

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Mr Herd collected his award alongside his wife Stephanie and their two sons, Matthew and Christopher.

He told the Barrhead News: “It was just a fantastic day with my wife and my children.

“After arriving at the palace, we were split up and I spent some time learning what to do and what to say to the Queen.

“My family were really lucky and got some great seats near the front so they were able to see everything.

“The Queen asked me about East Renfrewshire and what I do there. I told her about my work in the school and supporting young people and she said how important a job that is.

“She was really nice and friendly.

“I just want to make sure to thank everyone at St Luke’s and this is recognition for all of their hard work.”

Mr Herd’s time at St Luke’s is set to come to an end next month as he retires following a 13-year stay at the school.

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His work has seen him offering guidance to pupils on a range of social and cultural issues.

He has worked with pupils on a variety of initiatives related to anti-sectarianism, alcohol and drugs, mental health and leadership skills.

Mr Herd, from Kilmaurs, in East Ayrshire, previously worked as a manager for Castlemilk Youth Complex, in Glasgow.

He added: “I just felt it was time to retire and I am looking forward to spending some time in Italy.”

Karen Hunter, depute head at St Luke’s, said: “We are all extremely proud of Joe on receiving his MBE.

“It is thoroughly well-deserved, given what he has done for St Luke’s.

“The whole school community is absolutely delighted for him.

“We will all miss him dearly."