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Friday Hero

Gillian Forrow is the chair of governors at Farmilo nursery and primary school in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

Gillian worked as a reception and Year 1 teacher for 25 years at this school before retiring, when she became a very active volunteer. As chair of governors, she has overseen a major reorganisation which, along with 28 other Nottinghamshire schools, involved changing the age range from three to nine to three to 11. All staff had to be newly appointed, and at Farmilo more than pound;300,000 was spent on refurbishment.

"Gillian was a leading light through all that and attended an extraordinary number of meetings," says headteacher Nina Young, who used to teach alongside her and who nominated her for our flowers, champagne and chocolates.

Throughout the upheaval Gillian was, as ever, a "wonderful sounding board and confidante". And the school has benefited greatly: "We're very happy with it. We couldn't possibly have afforded it without reorganisation."

Gillian's intimate knowledge of the school's workings also comes from her two days a week as an unpaid volunteer teacher in the nursery, preparing the oldest children for entry to reception.

"The staff think she's wonderful and the children adore her. She knows everybody and taught lots of our parents," says Nina.

"She is our critical friend, always looking for ways to support the school and help the staff. It's difficult to let someone like Gillian know just how much we really appreciate her."

We hope this gesture tells her.

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