Farewell to popular Rothwell dinner lady

Maureen Barratt retires as a dinner lady after 30 years at Rothwell Victoria Infant School
Maureen Barratt retires as a dinner lady after 30 years at Rothwell Victoria Infant School

A dinner lady has decided to hang up her apron after more than three decades dishing out school dinners and helping in the playground.

Maureen Barratt, the lunchtime supervisor at Rothwell Victoria Infant School, has been helping pupils during their dinner breaks for more than 30 years but has decided to retire from her duties in the hall and playground.

Maureen, 65, who started at the school in 1984, worked as a cleaner there for several years as well as her daytime duties.

She said: “I’ve loved every minute of my time at the school looking after the children, sometimes playing tag or stuck in the mud, or helping them open their crisps or yoghurts.

“I’ve had a fantastic time and everyone has been brilliant.”

Nearly 1,000 pupils have passed through Maureen’s care, many of whom have gone on to be parents of current pupils.

Love is All Around by one of her favourite bands Wet Wet Wet was played in tribute as she entered the hall for a special surprise assembly in her honour on Friday.

Pupils from Rothwell Junior School and Montsaye Academy who had been looked after by Maureen were also invited along to share in the send-off.

Deputy headteacher Caroline Tighe said: “To have the strength of character to stay in the same role for 30 years is amazing.

“She’s happy, down-to-earth, unflappable and she is always prepared to go with the flow when circumstances change.”

She added: “I would like to thank her for the dedicated service she has given to the school on behalf of all the pupils, parents and staff, past and present.”

Maureen hopes to be spending her retirement pottering around in her garden and caravanning with her husband Brian.

However, she has also volunteered for relief cover at the school so she might not get as much time off playing bingo as she has planned.