Please send the name of your Friday Hero to Sarah Bayliss, Friday magazine, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX, or email email@example.comFlowers kindly supplied by Marks amp; Spencer
Irene Willis has been a non-teaching assistant at St Mary's Roman Catholic primary school in Rotherham for 33 years.She retires, reluctantly, at Easter A familiar figure in the parish and the local community, Irene is said to be as enthusiastic about her work now as she was when she started in 1969. "She knows everyone and gives everything to the job," says acting head Helen McLaughlin, who nominated her for our flowers, champagne and chocolates. Working mainly in the infant department at this 190-strong primary, Irene is also a first-aider, a governor, tea lady and listening ear in the staffroom. "She effortlessly juggles all our requests for black coffee, decaff coffee, strong tea, weak tea and herbal tea," says Ms McLaughlin, who joined the school as an NQT and recently returned as deputy head. The school won't be the same without Irene and staff know it will be a shock to discover just how much she has done over the years "quietly, without anyone asking".
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