Friday Hero

27th June 2003 at 01:00
Audrey Wilson is the school cook at Claremont special school in Henleaze, Bristol.

Claremont is a primary school for children with physical disabilities and associated learning difficulties. Many are in wheelchairs and have complex dietary needs, but most of them eat together every day in the school hall.

Which is where Audrey comes in and makes a big difference.

Headteacher Bob Coburn says she puts masses of effort "and love" into making lunches that suit the children, as well as preparing food that's tasty and nutritious. She's introduced the children to healthy options such as vegetable roulade, curries and home-made pizzas. "Her carrot cake and vanilla sauce is to die for!"

Most mornings the smell of freshly made bread wafts through the school, and pupils are always keen to know what's for lunch. Each day Audrey sets up an audio communication aid with a recorded message at the kitchen door so that at the press of a button pupils can hear what's cooking.

A profoundly disabled young girl was recently put on a dairy and wheat-free diet. Audrey researched recipes and made dishes that were similar to those everyone else was eating, so the girl didn't feel different. In the kitchen, the school has also developed recipes that follow the ketogenic diet, recommended by some professionals to help stabilise epilepsy.

Bob Coburn, who nominated Audrey for our flowers, champagne and chocolates, says: "Children here have a great deal to overcome in their lives. Audrey treats them with empathy and care, and their needs always come first."

What's more, "there's no junk food here".

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

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