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Friday Hero

Retirement usually means the chance to relax in the garden with a good book, have long lunches with friends or travel the world. Not for Ruth Wake, chair of governors at Ainsdale CE primary in Southport, Merseyside.

Ruth's been into school every day since she retired two years ago as bursar at Range Hill high school in Formby. She's given up countless hours to help at the 205-pupil primary that her own children attended more than 30 years ago and where she and her late husband Brian chaired a highly successful parent-teachers' association for many years. Ruth was also a governor for 15 years before taking over as chair in 1996. Headteacher Lesley Deninson says Ruth helps out in the office, counts dinner money, has developed benchmarking systems and types letters. "She is the queen of the 24 tasks and excels at Excel!"

Talking of queens, the children made sure that Ruth was the person to crown the May Queen at Ainsdale's recent celebrations. She even took the lead in the Pat-a-cake Polka. Lesley says she has shared the happy times - including the many dance or drama productions the school puts on and the births of staff members' children - the sad times, the tears, the laughter and the celebrations. She was among the supporters last year when the school team made it to a local schools cup final. They didn't win, but Ruth enjoyed her outing on the terraces.

"Quite simply," says Lesley, "money couldn't buy what she gives us. Her expertise, love and care for the children and the staff are immeasurable.

She is truly the head of our whole church school family."

But there has been a recent break in her daily tradition. When Friday magazine contacted the school in early June, we found Ruth was off on a fortnight's holiday in Alaska. Our flowers, chocolates and champagne will make the perfect welcome-home present.

We know there are heroes out there. Tell Sarah Bayliss, TESFriday editor, about yours at the address on the left. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks Spencer

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