Jean Coker

31st January 2003 at 00:00
Jean Coker is a volunteer tea lady and all-round helper at the Holy Cross school, New Malden, in the Royal London borough of Kingston upon Thames

Jean Coker has actually been a member of the staff team for 10 years - starting as a financial assistant in the school office and retiring two years ago as the school's bursar. Since then she hasn't missed a day as a willing volunteer at this 850-pupil Roman Catholic girls' school.

At mid-morning break she's the friendly person serving busy teachers with tea and coffee in the staffroom and - even more importantly - washing up all the cups afterwards. (No need for a dishwasher there then. Friday's competition, to win one of three dishwashers and make your staffroom sparkle, closes at the end of today with winners announced in next week's edition of The TES.) Eleanor Sullivan, a Year 12 prefect at the school, who nominated Jean for our flowers, champagne and chocolates, says she is a treasure, much cherished by the whole school, and is also a valued leader of local girl guide and brownie groups. The girls know she's prepared to do the unpopular, fiddly jobs and that she is especially efficient at sorting out tickets and collecting money for Holy Cross concerts and other events.

In the afternoons Jean Coker is still going strong; she seems to love photocopying for teachers - one of the jobs we know they hate, especially when the paper's jammed and the ink's run out - doing any admin that crops up and generally lending a helping hand. "She always supports the school and we are so grateful for her services," says Eleanor.

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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