Daisy Witherington

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
Is this a record - 41 years in the same school and still going strong? That's Daisy Witherington, who arrived at Chace community school in Enfield, Middlesex, in 1965.

She started as a cleaner. Then she moved into the office as the "Girl Friday" - handling post, sorting paperwork, doing whatever needs to be done. But it is the staffroom that's her real domain, according to headteacher Sue Warrington, who nominated her for our flowers, champagne and chocolates: "Daisy is the golden thread that weaves us all together."

Daisy lives up the road, catches the bus to school and arrives with litres of milk. From 7.30am she sets about the preparation of urns, kettles and coffee machines for hot drinks that will greet thirsty teachers. Chace has 1,350 pupils aged 11 to 19 and 160 staff - half teachers, half support staff - and it is the staffroom where those adults meet, network, relax and find refreshment. Last year the school achieved technology status, so there have been changes, with a new extension and more building plans to come.

At the heart of it all is Daisy: good-humoured, positive, loved and respected. "We are not just a community in name," says Ms Warrington.

"Daisy represents the friendly school that we endeavour to be, to adults and children alike." There are family connections, too. Daisy's son was a pupil when the school was boys only and so were her four grandchildren.

Daughter-in-law Cathy is a science technician. Staff birthdays are always celebrated; the lucky person supplies cakes or fruit and it's Daisy's job to hand round the treats - perhaps it doesn't feel like coming to work at all.

Daisy is a bright, lively person who "takes no nonsense" and spots talent at job interviews; she seems to have an instinct for knowing who will be the right person for Chace. She's aptly named: "Like a Daisy she's got a golden heart and is a wonderful, hardy perennial."

Sue Warrington arrived at Chace in April 1998 and says she felt lucky to get a Friday Hero bouquet on leaving her last school - the same year Friday magazine began. "It meant a great deal to me and I know it will be a thrill for Daisy."

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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