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Friday Hero

Thanks for doing a brilliant job

Broom Barns junior mixed infants school in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, is the same age as the town, now more than 50 years old, and the building is starting to need lots of TLC to keep in good shape. Thanks to caretaker Richard Cano, for whom no job is too big or small, pampering and essential repairs are always available.

"Mr Cano is a whiz," is the verdict of headteacher Anne Wesley, deputy Shelagh Tooley and school secretary Traci Pomroy, who nominated him for our flowers, chocolates and champagne. He has been at Broom Barns since October 2002, starting in the same term that Mrs Wesley joined as head. "We were very lucky to find him," says Ms Tooley. "We heard by word of mouth that he might be available."

The staff admire the way Richard can turn his hand to major decorating and carpentry projects, such as fitting a new kitchen for design and technology. "He's very clever: he can think around problems, adapt and make things." But the all-important little jobs get done too.

Ms Tooley, who also teaches Year 2 at Broom Barns, says: "The door to my classroom doesn't close and he makes me doorstops out of bits of wood. They always seem to disappear even though he puts my name on them, but when I need another doorstop he never asks me what I did with the last one.

Nothing is ever a problem. He's so amenable, which I think is what makes him special. He's popular with everyone - children and staff - and always has a smile."

Every Christmas Mr Cano not only dresses up as Santa to tour the classrooms with presents, but makes Santa a sleigh. At this time of year, he's nurturing the school daffodils. Earlier this month pupils needed to be warned off the plants. "Some older children made signs and gave them to Mr Cano at the end of an afternoon," says Mrs Wesley. "He had them mounted, backed and staked in the ground by the next morning. Now no one is walking on the grassy slope.

"It is always being remarked upon by staff that if you ask Mr Cano to do a job for you it is magically completed overnight."

We hope the Friday Hero gifts work some magic for Mr Cano, and that everyone at Broom Barns enjoys the daffodils.

Heroes are out there, but we need you to reveal them in all their glory.

Think of the person in your school - teacher, classroom assistant, governor, cook - who always goes the extra mile. Then tell us about them in a letter or email to Sarah Bayliss at the address above left. Go on, they deserve recognition. (Flowers kindly supplied by Marks Spencer)

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