A Lewisham woman has paid tribute to her Holocaust survivor mother after it was announced she will be honoured by the Queen for services to education.

Ruzena Levy, 89, survived Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland as a teenager, eventually moving to the UK and settling in Golders Green.

Mrs Levy's daughter, Shelley, recalled hearing the news that her mother will receive a British Empire medal soon after she returned from a stay in hospital.

The 56-year-old from Lewisham said: "As I was reading the words of the letter the tears were streaming down my face. It was just the loveliest way to finish that day.

"She just couldn't understand - 'why would anybody want to give me that honour?'"

Her mother has tried to retire from public speaking three times but will not refuse an invitation when she is asked to relay her story, she said.

She continued: "She feels that it's very, very important and she's running out of time, and she needs to make the most of every day and talk when she can.

"She will have an audience of children so quiet you can hear a pin drop, she connects with them in the most incredible way and she will come away and feel very satisfied.

"The aftermath is she won't sleep, she will have nightmares, she is severely affected by the stories she has told, it obviously churns up a lot of traumatic memories, it's not a good experience for her ... she forgets how awful it really is to have all these memories and painful experiences churned up and she will do it again."

Grandmother Mrs Levy, who survived the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in German-occupied Poland as a teenager, said she "never dreamt" she would receive an award.

The 89-year-old, who was born in former Czechoslovakia, came to Ireland after the war and later moved to England.

She said: "The honour is a great surprise and appreciated by me and my family, and I'm proud for them, I really think it's something that the whole family can share and talk about forever."

Mrs Levy, who could not talk about her ordeal for 50 years, has visited hundreds of schools and her testimony became part of the curriculum for more than 20,000 students in Lewisham.

She said: "It all makes me suffer, by the fact that I think about it too much beforehand and certainly relive it afterwards, but I'm glad to do it, I get very good feedback from children, lovely letters and reports from teachers (about) how much good it has done, and that is satisfying."

She added that she has "great hope" that the families of other survivors with continue to share their stories once they are gone.

Walter Kammerling, 95, Ernest Simon, 89, Gabrielle Keenaghan, 92, Ann and Bob Kirk, 90 and 94, and George Hans Vulkan, 89, will also received British Empire medals for services to Holocaust education in this round of honours.

Since 2009, 44 Holocaust survivors have been recognised with honours.

Ahead of this year's birthday honours announcement, survivors gathered at the Jewish Museum in north London at an event organised by the Cabinet Office.