Thanks for doing a brilliant job

22nd April 2005 at 01:00
They rolled out a red carpet at Millfield first school last month, to celebrate a famous son getting a knighthood. Volunteer helper Bernice Jones was delighted that everyone took pleasure in her son, CBI chairman Sir Digby Jones, getting dubbed by the Queen.

Headteacher Sarah Power tells us that being 81 years old didn't stop Mrs Jones skipping down the red paper trail; she thinks mother and son share an infectious enthusiasm and a zest for life. "She's a real character, larger than life and a very encouraging person. She contributes greatly to our school."

For 15 years Mrs Jones has been a volunteer at Millfield, a 200-pupil school for four to nine-year-olds in Bromsgrove, West Midlands. Before that she ran a business with her husband; then in retirement she was a volunteer at the local hospital. Since offering to help at Millfield she has made office duties her focus.

Two mornings every week she drives to school and, alongside secretary Sally Brown, tackles essential small jobs: photocopying, counting money, checking school trip consent forms. Other jobs such as bagging sweets for school discos and washing up she does with gusto.

In the staffroom, shared by 22 staff including eight teachers and the head, her humour and spirit are hugely appreciated. "She is a ray of sunshine," says Sarah Power, who nominated her for our flowers, champagne and chocolates. "She always remembers details about our family lives and is the unofficial agony aunt."

At Millfield there's been another reason to celebrate recently - an outstanding Ofsted inspection. Digby Jones's success in completing the London Marathon last weekend will no doubt be another reason to cheer. Well done.

We know there are heroes out there. Tell Sarah Bayliss, TESFriday editor, about yours at the address on the left. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks Spencer

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