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Friday Hero

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When Brenda Jones arrived at St Philip's CE primary school in Hulme, Manchester, five years ago there was another Mrs Jones already working there.

So that the children knew who was who and because, as they soon found out, Brenda was such a good piano player, they started calling her Mrs Jones Music.

Even though her namesake has since retired, the children still refer to her fondly by her nickname. Now, as everyone at the school agrees, there's only one Brenda Jones. But after Christmas there won't be any Mrs Joneses at St Philip's because Brenda is retiring too. John Dalby, head of the 240-pupil school, says she will be missed enormously.

What's special about Brenda is "her caring nature and commitment that she shows to everything she does", says Mr Dalby, who, with the rest of the school staff, nominated Brenda for our flowers, chocolates and champagne.

"She is very kind to the children and supportive and helpful to the staff."

Brenda joined the school as a key stage 2 teaching assistant - after many years of working in other Manchester schools - then moved to work with the nursery, which, Mr Dalby says, is her natural habitat. "She's a teaching assistant but really she's in the nursery nurse tradition; very caring and loving and thoughtful."

One of the things they'll miss most about Brenda is her musical talent; she plays the piano in assemblies and church, choosing many of the songs and hymns. Outside school she is a family person, and involved in organising a local Brownie pack.

"It's lovely to have someone like that in the school who is always there and does everything you ask of her and more," says Mr Dalby. "If you could mention her in your column it would in some small way begin to express our gratitude for all she has achieved during her working life."

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

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