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Peter Ward

Poppleton Ousebank is a great name for a school. And the 400-pupil primary outside York has a member of staff who is just as wonderful.

Peter Ward's main job is as caretaker, but he also doubles as an IT technician, senior midday supervisor, the school's designated first aider, until recently a governor and, Sue Langley says, "a fantastic person".

In the eight years he has been at the school, Peter has become a much appreciated member of staff. "The children love him to bits," says Ms Langley, a learning support assistant and governor, who nominated him for our flowers, champagne and chocolates. "They think he is cool and they have a great rapport with them. He is totally involved in the life of the school.

"I have been involved with the school for the last 17 years and he is by far the best caretaker we have had. I have never known anybody get so involved in everything to do with the school. He just does so much."

Even with a family of his own (he has two young children who attend another school), Peter still finds time to go on school trips with Poppleton Ousebank pupils. And his popularity is guaranteed thanks to another of his spare time activities: he looks after guide dog puppies until they are old enough to start proper training. "Every time he gets a new puppy he brings it into the school for the children to see, which of course they love," says Ms Langley.

Even so, she says, the adulation hasn't gone to his head, and she predicts he will be embarrassed at his accolade. "He's a true northerner - he just gets on with what has to be done," she says.

"He's the salt of the earth, an all-round good guy. I don't know what the school would do without him."

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

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