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Dinner lady at Norwich infant school waves farewell after 38 years

PUBLISHED: 08:34 09 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:34 09 February 2018

Sue Stevens, retiring from the Nelson Infant School after 38 years as a dinner lady. With her are pupils from left, Hektoras Gvildys, seven; Lornia Njoroge, six; Krzysztof Jozwa, seven; Lauren Beckwith, seven; Grace Courtney, seven; and Charlie Churchill, six. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sue Stevens, retiring from the Nelson Infant School after 38 years as a dinner lady. With her are pupils from left, Hektoras Gvildys, seven; Lornia Njoroge, six; Krzysztof Jozwa, seven; Lauren Beckwith, seven; Grace Courtney, seven; and Charlie Churchill, six. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A dinner lady who has dedicated almost 40 years of her life to youngsters at a Norwich infant school is enjoying a well-earned rest in retirement.

Sue Stevens, retiring from the Nelson Infant School after 38 years as a dinner lady. With her are pupils from left, front, Lornia Njoroge, six, and Grace Courtney, seven. Back, Krzysztof Jozwa, seven; Hektoras Gvildys, seven; Charlie Churchill, six; and Lauren Beckwith, seven. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Sue Stevens, retiring from the Nelson Infant School after 38 years as a dinner lady. With her are pupils from left, front, Lornia Njoroge, six, and Grace Courtney, seven. Back, Krzysztof Jozwa, seven; Hektoras Gvildys, seven; Charlie Churchill, six; and Lauren Beckwith, seven. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sue Stevens has been at the heart of Nelson Infant School, on Northumberland Street, for 38 years, cooking dinners, chipping in with playground duties and helping youngsters in need of first aid.

During that time, she has become a familiar face to thousands of children enjoying their break and lunch times with friends.

So when she announced her plans for retirement, the school couldn’t less it pass without occasion.

On Tuesday afternoon, the school held a special assembly - including a personalised retirement cake - to mark the milestone.

Mrs Stevens said: “I’ve been here about 38 years, and it’s just been part of my life.

“It’s been really good.

“Lots of children have passed through, all the ladies - we have had good times.”

She said the cake was “wonderful” and said - while she might not miss break times spent in cold playgrounds - that she would most definitely miss the children.

And the youngsters were keen to pay their thanks to a beloved member of staff.

Seven-year-old Grace Courtney said: “I’ll miss Mrs Stevens because she has helped us everywhere we’ve been.

“She’s helped us with carrying our trays and plates to our tables and she’s helped us in first aid when somebody’s hurt.

“She makes sure if somebody’s fallen over that they’re okay.”

And fellow pupil, Krzysztof Jozwa, also seven, said: “I will miss her because she helped me with my dinner and I see her at playground.

“She helps sometimes at first aid.”

In its latest Ofsted inspection, from last January, the watchdog’s inspectors described the school as a “safe and caring place where pupils feel safe”.

They said: “Positive relationships exist between staff and pupils.”

Is your school marking an occasion we should be writing about? If so, let us know by emailing Lauren Cope on lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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