Friday Hero

2nd May 2003 at 01:00
Margaret Salmon has been the school secretary at Parrenthorn high school near Prestwich, Bury, for 25 years.

She may have run the general school office for a quarter of a century, but Margaret still exudes energy and enthusiasm for a job which has changed much over time. Nominated by a friend and former teacher, Pauline Wynne, who comes in on supply, Margaret is described as everyone's friend and helper. "Every day she breezes in early, like a ray of sunshine, wishing everyone a cheerful 'Good morning'."

Margaret was multi-tasking at this 680-strong mixed comprehensive long before the term was invented, says Pauline. Nothing fazes her, even when she's answering the phone, comforting a sick child, solving a problem for a teacher or finding something that's been lost. She sells disco tickets, runs a tuck shop, takes children on school trips at home and abroad, and is also a school governor. "Margaret cares deeply for the pupils and they likewise love and respect her," says Pauline.

Headteacher Arthur Francis is so pleased she's a Friday Hero, and says he would need to appoint more than one full-timer if Margaret left his school.

"All the office staff are amazing - they probably attract work because they always say yes, but we don't half appreciate them."

Parrenthorn has received two DfES achievement awards and all the staff, including those in the office, received bonus payments. It is also a beacon school which values strong links with feeder primaries. Margaret's local knowledge and experience helps support these contacts. "People feel very comfortable with her," says Mr Francis, "and you can see the positive effect she has."

Send the name of your Friday Hero to Sarah Bayliss, Friday, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX, or email Flowers kindly supplied by Marks amp; Spencer

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