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Friday Hero

Christine Griffin is a dinner lady, classroom assistant and permanent volunteer helper at West Melton junior school, Rotherham

Christine started as a parent helper when her own children were at the school and gradually took on paid jobs. Now she has grandchildren there and often steps in to ease a crisis - like when the school secretary was off sick for half a term. She's got a big heart and puts in a full week's work even though much of her time is voluntary.

"She did the dinner books for weeks and made a fantastic job of it," says headteacher Ingrid House, who nominated Christine for our flowers, champagne and chocolates. Ms House says she is "amazed" at the way Christine throws herself wholeheartedly into everything. "Nothing is too much trouble. If a job needs doing, she does it with no fuss."

The school serves a former mining community in the old West Riding - an area that's undergone huge change in the past 20 years. The pits where the 1984 miners' strike began are long closed and while some families have stayed the population is more mobile than ever. Christine is not from Yorkshire, but she's one of the longest serving staff at the school.

"I introduce her to the new children as Grandma Griffin because she's kind and caring and that's what it's all about. She's sensible and level-headed and they respect her. We think she's wonderful."

The school, which has 150 children aged seven to 11, recently opened a fund-raising tuck shop run by Christine and a parent. "You'd have to go a long way to find a better friend to our school," says Ingrid House.

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