Barbara Anderton is personal assistant to the head and deputy at Tarleton high school near Preston in Lancashire.
Mrs Anderton joined Tarleton as a library assistant school 26 years ago. In 1994, after a period helping to run this 820-pupil rural comprehensive from the general office, she was made personal assistant to headteacher Tony Hardiker and deputy head John Barnes, who wrote to Friday magazine nominating her for our flowers, champagne and chocolates.
"One of the joys of my life is to have Barbara as a secretary," says John Barnes. "She types a million words a minute, can take a shorthand note at the drop of a hat and is an irreplaceable ambassador for the school."
Barbara is a lynchpin, working long hours and expending bags of energy.
"She knows a lot of people and keeps a lot of people going," says Mr Barnes. She negotiates with supply agencies, is clerk to the governing body and co-ordinator of the parents' association, which is known as "Friends of Tarleton high". This year is a big one for the school with pound;50,000 having been raised for a successful bid to become a community technology college in September 2004. A pound;1.2 million sports hall is also due to open, plus a new ICT suite sponsored by a local building company.
The main business in the area served by the school is horticulture.
"Basically, if you buy a carrot in the north-west it's probably been grown round here," says John Barnes. "It's not a particularly wealthy community, but people are very generous and have a real commitment to the school."
What singles out Barbara Anderton from a great staff team is her thoughtfulness and caring attitude, which "radiates throughout the school".
She also bakes biscuits for everyone at five o'clock in the morning. Can't beat that.
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 amp; Spencer