Ellie has been a ‘dinner lady’ for 50 years - what’s her favourite meal?
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
It is 50 years since Ellie Grimsey began serving meals in a school kitchen.
In that time she has served thousands of children, from the days of spotted dick and custard to today's lamb and couscous.
But she has not had her fill yet.
Ms Grimsey started as a midday supervisor at the village primary school in Stoke Ferry in 1968, at a time when meals were still brought into the school each day.
Following the school's move to new premises in 1987 Ms Grimsey became a catering assistant, and then school cook – a role she carried out for 14 years.
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Since then she has served as assistant cook at the school, now All Saints' Academy, serving the children and grandchildren of past pupils.
Ms Grimsey said she still loved being in the kitchen – but that much had changed in her five decades making and serving school dinners.
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'I absolutely love it. I don't know what I would do if I had to be at home,' she said. 'Fifty years ago we used to make cowboy stew, mash potatoes and spotted dick for pudding.
'It was all oldy-worldy things. Back then we had to do everything from scratch. Now we get pre-cut and peeled potatoes but back then we had to do that all ourselves.
'It's coming back to that now. We used to have pudding mixes and batter mixes but we have to make everything, especially the puddings from scratch.
'My favourite school dinner to serve and eat myself is a roast, with roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.'
She added: 'I have loved every minute of working here and I hope to do it for a few more years yet.'
To celebrate her 50 years, the school – where Ms Grimsey's daughter Jane is now the school cook – held a celebratory lunch, where Ms Grimsey joined pupils for a meal of roast pork and fruit cheesecake.
Amanda Massen, account manager at Norse Catering, which employs Ms Grimsey, said: 'We are enormously grateful to Ellie for the huge commitment and dedication she has shown to keeping children healthy by serving nutritious and balanced meals for half a century. She is a hugely popular figure in the school.'
Katherine Howe, executive headteacher, said: 'The school is really proud and privileged to continue working with Ellie and her daughter and thank them for daily providing us with lovely lunches.'