"Nanny Ruby", a 69-year-old cleaner who brings in presents for staff and tells Ofsted inspectors how good her school is, was among the winners at the first national support staff awards this week.
Ruby Hudson has continued working at World's End infants school in Birmingham well past retirement age, regularly arriving two hours early for the job she started in 1990.
In addition she donates prizes won during her weekly bingo visits to school fundraising activities.
Ruby, who had breast cancer five years ago, said: "The only place I felt really loved and wanted was the school. I don't want to leave and they don't want me to leave. I do work hard but I love the school." She said that receiving the award had been wonderful "for the school and for me. The only thing that spoilt my day was sore feet. You wouldn't think an old lady like me would buy high heels but I did."
She was one of eight winners at the first annual support staff awards organised by the National Bursars Association.
Other winners were administrator Anita Smith, of Manvers junior school in Cotgrave, Nottingham; catering manager Julie Hill, of Branksome school, Darlington; premises worker Andrew Todd, of Hadrian special school, Newcastle; pupil supervisor Sheila Hamilton, of St Teresa's Catholic primary, Newcastle; teaching assistant Trudy Williams, of Hillcrest school and community college, Dudley; technician Susan Trewhitt, of Conyers school, Stockton on Tees; and bursar Karen Griffiths, of Prescot school, in Knowsley, Merseyside.