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Ann is still a dinner lady after four decades

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: December 07, 2013

By Belinda Hargreaves

Ann Chadwick with pupil Charlie Paton, aged eight.

Ann Chadwick with pupil Charlie Paton, aged eight.

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A WELL-LOVED dinner lady has been recognised for her four decades of service at a Leek school.

Ann Chadwick, aged 78, of Leek, has been helping to supervise youngsters during lunchtimes at Woodcroft First School since November 1973.

The mother-of-two was recognised for her long-service at a special assembly held in her honour at the Wallbridge Drive school.

The current pupils at Woodcroft joined in on singing a 'Thank You' song after headteacher Ruth Cartlidge made a speech about Anne and her valued service.

Mrs Cartlidge said: "Mrs Chadwick has been at Woodcroft a very long time and looked after some of your parents when they were little boys and girls."

She continued to explain to the 200 youngsters at Woodcroft of the importance of saying thank you to people who help them, such as Mrs Chadwick.

Ann was presented with a basket of plants. The floral aspects were in the colour red to represent the 40-year anniversary stone of ruby. She told the assembly: "Thank you all so much. I do so love coming here every day."

She later told the Post & Times: "I still keep on working as a dinner lady because I like it and it gets me out of the house. I don't want to become brain dead."

Mrs Chadwick's own two children, Sarah and Rachael, both attended Woodcroft First School, as well as two of her five grandchildren.

Ann said: "The best part of working here is that everyone is always so happy and friendly.

"I will probably work here until I'm 100."

As well as helping children to cut up their food and look after them in the playground, Ann has also, in the past, run a tennis club at the school in conjunction with being a successful member of the Abbey View Tennis Club.

She said: "I have seen quite a few changes in the school over the years. The playground is far more eco-friendly and the school now has a lovely garden."

As for in the dining hall, Ann said: "I don't think the eating habits are as good as they used to be and neither are the manners at the dinner table.

"We really do have to try and encourage children to use both a knife and fork these days. I think this is all down to more and more families sitting and watching television nowadays."

Ann, who has lived in Leek all her life, attended East Street Primary School and then Westwood Girls Grammar School herself.

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