THE DEDICATED founder of a school for bullied children has vowed to continue her work after receiving an MBE from Prince William.
Viv Morgan might now be 75-years-old but she has no plans to retire and is busy planning how she can help more vulnerable youngsters.
Viv received her award less than two years after the death of her husband Fred, who she said would have been ‘thrilled to bits’ with news of the honour.
The pair bought Northleigh House in Hatton 13 years ago and took over running it as a small hotel.
But after hearing increasingly common stories about children committing suicide due to bullying, the husband and wife team decided to transform their ten-bedroom home into a school for victims.
It opened its doors in 2012 and is now recognised nationally for its work supporting bullied children, and gets more than 360 vulnerable youngsters a year wanting to attend.
Viv, along with her daughter and nine-year-old grandson, travelled to Buckingham Palace where she received her MBE last Thursday.
She told The Observer: “It was so lovely and a wonderful thing to happen. I hope it does good for the school because we really need some extra help.
“When the Prince gave me the medal I said to him there are so many children we support but so many more we need to help.
“He said ‘I’m sure you will find a way.’”
The youngest current child at Northleigh is aged seven and the oldest 17. Some parents drive school runs of hundreds of miles to take their children to the school.
Viv has to turn children away on a daily basis, something which she still gets upset about.
But her dedication to the job as chair of trustees sees her continue to work full time, including evenings and weekends, and although it can be difficult she says she would not change her role.
“Currently I’m having to choose between two children and pick which one will come here. We don’t know what will happen to the one we don’t take.
“Nearly half of the children who come or have been to Northleigh have tried to commit suicide due to bullying. It’s really different here because we put such an emphasis on social and emotional care and have more staff to help work around the specialist needs of the children.
“It is so lovely to see them gain confidence and move on with the chance of a happy life. Every day at Northleigh is very busy and enjoyable.”
And in future Viv wants to open up Northleigh – where she still lives – to even more children.
“Going forward I want to provide more places. There’s a great need for help.”
Visit northleighhouseschool.squarespace.com to donate or find out more.