Friday Hero

4th November 2005 at 00:00
Thanks for doing a brilliant job

Every week Mrs Wendy Sansom makes a "Magic Duster Award" for the cleanest classroom and a "Lovely Loos Award" for, well, the loveliest loos at Clore Shalom primary school near Radlett in Hertfordshire. So now it's her turn for the school to say a big thank you and to award her with our flowers, champagne and box of chocolates.

The school is unusual, one of only two voluntary-aided Jewish primary schools in the country, founded six years ago. With 240 pupils aged 3-11, it serves a wide catchment area with very few children able to walk a short distance to school.

Having friends and supporters in the local community is important at Clore Shalom, so when Mrs Sansom knocked on the door saying she lived round the corner and would they like a cleaner, deputy head Jacqueline Alexander jumped at the offer.

"I know how difficult it is to get a good cleaner, so I said, 'Fantastic'.

Wendy was working in an old people's home, but we soon found out she had the personal touch and were able to give her a full-time job. I've never worked in a school that's so lovingly cared for."

The school was created from a derelict barn and outbuildings in a green belt area with its own playing fields. Idyllic in some ways, there are lots of restrictions which limit changes to space, but a new early years building has recently been added.

Mrs Sansom is a good friend to the staff and is often asked for advice.

"She's upfront and honest and an extremely good judge of character. With new staff she can see who'll be right for our school."

Although not Jewish herself, Mrs Sansom enters fully into the life of the school, preparing grapes and apple juice for a special ceremony on Friday mornings and attending events with parents.

She gave up smoking on doctor's orders earlier this year and has celebrated her 60th birthday. Meanwhile she continues to push Henry the Hoover around with vigour and always makes tea for headteacher Irene Kay. "She's part of the team in every way and we just couldn't do without her."

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 on the left. Go on, they deserve recognition. (Flowers kindly supplied by Marks Spencer)

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