Mum from Gretton scoops national award for after-school cooking club

Sarah Cresswell with her award in the creative room at Gretton Primary School
Sarah Cresswell with her award in the creative room at Gretton Primary School

A mum who runs an after-school cookery club which is so popular it has a waiting list has won a national award.

Sarah Cresswell was named the winner of the Daily Telegraph and Aldi People’s Champion Award for her work with Gretton Primary’s after-school cooking club.

She was presented with her award by Olympian Sally Gunnell, although she only found out she had been nominated by the school’s business manager Donna Gillies when she was invited to the award ceremony at the Telegraph offices in London.

Sarah has been running Gretton’s after-school club for more than three years and has even paid for ingredients out of her own pocket when the budget has run out.

Her hard work and commitment to teaching cooking skills and making healthy dishes impressed the judges and they even asked for her recipe for tomato sauce which she has been told may be published in the Telegraph’s Weekend magazine.

Sarah said: “We went to the Telegraph offices and I was presented with the award by Sally Gunnell and a representative from Aldi.

“The nutritionist fought my corner because I was a parent and do healthy options with the class.

“I produce my own tomato sauce which can be adapted for lots of recipes so I emailed the recipe over to her and she is going to publish it.

“Getting nominated and actually winning was a bit of a shock.

“Sally Gunnell was lovely and so down to earth.

“Everyone made me feel so special and welcome, they were absolutely lovely.

“There were five categories in all and all the other winners were there.

“As well as the trophy, which will go on my mantelpiece, I also won £500 prize money.”

Sarah’s cookery club takes place every Tuesday after school for an hour-and-a-half.

She said: “We used to teach cookery skills to 12 children for the entire year but it has been so popular that we have different children every term because there is a waiting list.

“We do traditional recipes like soup, sauces and sweet and savoury pastry.

“I encourage the children to eat what they have made and they also take their food home so their parents can see how they are progressing.

“We use the creative studio and we all stand around the table and if the kids have a problem they come out and share it with the group so, as well as cooking, it is a bit like therapy.

“We have children from Year 1 up to Year 6 and they are absolutely brilliant and really pay attention, particularly when we are using sharp knives.

“Cooking is a skill for life and I was brought up from an early age to cook, sew and learn practical skills so this is a way to pass them on.”