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Friday Hero

With more than 400 pupils, there are many mouths to feed at Shakespeare primary school in Fleetwood, Lancashire. But Mary Williams makes sure they never go hungry.

Mary worked as a dinner lady at the school for 10 years, but when she retired in 1995, her involvement didn't end. If anything, she got busier.

First as vice-chair of the Home School Association, then as a co-opted governor, she has helped organise countless fundraisers, fairs and parties.

And none of them would be complete without a generous helping of Mary's cakes and biscuits. Her shortcake is the stuff of local legend and has helped sustain many a governors' meeting - Mary's not missed one in eight years.

For special occasions, she pulls out all the stops with one of her iced fruit cakes. And every Tuesday she runs an after-school cooking club for the infants, passing on her culinary expertise to the younger generation by showing them how to bake pizzas and make cakes and salads.

For the past six years the school's choir has appeared at the Music for Youth festival at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Each time Mary has gone too, having prepared packed lunches for everyone beforehand, as she does for all school trips.

Margaret Lund, the school's headteacher, who nominated Mary for our flowers chocolate and champagne, says she is "a treasure. I don't know what we would do without her. "She is quite simply the best friend a school could wish for and is loved by children and staff alike. No matter how busy she is, Mary is always there for us, friendly and cheerful as ever. We all want to say a huge thank you to her, not just for everything she does, but for being such a good friend."

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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