Bury teacher’s 30 years of ‘strengthening friendship’ honoured by Japanese

Mary-Grace Browning receives her Rising Sun Award from Japanese ambassador His Excellency Koji Tsuruoka ANL-160622-113152001

Mary-Grace Browning receives her Rising Sun Award from Japanese ambassador His Excellency Koji Tsuruoka ANL-160622-113152001

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A County Upper School teacher has been honoured by the Japanese for her work in fostering relations between the two countries.

Mary-Grace Browning, a Japanese teacher at the Bury St Edmunds school, last week received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, from the Japanese Ambassador to the UK His Excellency Koji Tsuruoka. The honour is rarely given to non-Japanese.

The citation says: “In recognition of her significant contribution to developing understanding of Japan amongst young people in Britain and to strengthening friendship between Japan and the United Kingdom for many years.”

In 2006, she received the MBE for her contribution to UK-Japan relations.

The modest teacher’s work began 30 years ago when she conducted the first school trip under her Japanese programme at County Upper and she made her 60th student visit this year.

The award also recognises the work she did for The Pacific Venture,launched 20 years ago, to take the grandchildren of prisoners of war to Japan and other reconciliation events.

County Upper headteacher Vicky Neale said:”Anyone who knows her will be in awe of her incredible enthusiasm, energy and dedication to ensuring that the young people from both countries experience each other’s cultures.”

The school is marking her contribution with a special tea on Friday at which a piece of artwork commissioned to mark the 60th visit will be unveiled.