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Friday Hero

Steve Linley drives the minibus which delivers rural children to the Lady St Mary first school in Wareham, Dorset.

Steve runs his own transport company, but twice a day does the school run for rural pupils at Lady St Mary and its neighbouring middle school. He's been "delivering" children for about nine years, the past two and a half as boss of his own company.

But he does far more. "He has a real gift for developing good relationships with the children," says Amy Lawrence, head of the 150-pupil school of four to nine-year-olds, who nominated him for this week's award. "He's always interested in them, talks to them and remembers things about them. It's another person who is interested in them - it builds their self-esteem.

"His continuing influence is a stabilising influence in their lives."

She says children are always happy to travel in Steve's minibus and new children soon develop confidence under his watchful eye. He keeps up that continuity when his charges transfer to middle school.

Amy says Steve acts as a reliable go-between between school and the rural parents they don't see that often. He takes messages back - and makes sure they arrive safely in the right hands. He's also been known to knock on the doors of children's homes when they aren't at the bus stop.

But, perhaps most importantly, he's always "jolly and cheerful".

"He's a real star and we feel he's part of our school," says Amy. "We'd like to recognise the valuable contribution he makes."

We agree, and this week Steve had an extra parcel to transport on his rounds - his flowers, chocolate and champagne as this week's winner.

Is there an unsung hero in your school? Tell Sarah Bayliss, TESFriday editor, about him or her at the address below. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks amp; Spencer

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