RETIRED industry chemist Lorelly Wilson has received a royal accolade for inspiring thousands of schoolchildren with her chemistry workshops.

Mrs Wilson, 63, from Knutsford, has been awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to education.

Twenty-five years ago she set up the Chemistry with Cabbage business, which takes hands-on chemistry into 180 primary schools, inspiring students to study science.

Her work is sponsored by the Chemical Business Association, which nominated her for the royal honour.

An association spokesman said: “Lorelly’s enthusiasm for science is infectious, and she is an inspiration to students.”

Mrs Wilson worked in industry as a chemist for ICI until 1981, when she left to have children.

“As my children grew older I developed an interest in education, and started the Chemistry with Cabbage business 25 years ago to try and get students interested in studying sciences,” she said.

“I try to show them the wonder of science and how exciting it is, and that they can do it.

“I absolutely love going into schools and working with the students, and intend to carry on for forever and a day.

“I know a lot of students have gone on to study science as a result of doing the workshops.

“I called the business Chemistry with Cabbage to arouse people’s curiosity, and cabbage is my favourite chemical – you can do some fun chemistry with red cabbage juice.

“We work with young students doing experiments with household products to get them excited about materials and their properties, and there are loads of fun experiments children and their parents can do with everyday materials like cabbage, milk and vinegar.

“I am thrilled to bits to receive the MBE, and feel humbled because there are an awful lot of people who deserve awards and do not get them.”

Mrs Wilson shared news of her royal honour at a school reunion with friends, which she attended with her husband Ian.

The couple are due to travel to Buckingham Palace later this year for the MBE presentation.

Mrs Wilson was a governor at Bexton Primary School in the early 1990s, and chairman of governors at Knutsford High School, now Knutsford Academy, from 1998 to 2001.

She is an honorary fellow of Manchester and Chester Universities and of the British Science Association.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours list recognises 109 people for contributions to education, children's services, equality and diversity.