Thanks for doing a brilliant job

6th February 2004 at 00:00
Geoff Ross is caretaker at Corbridge Church of England First School, Corbridge in Northumberland

He's "the world's greatest", who cleans, fixes, decorates and builds anything the staff ask him to. "He just loves a project," says headteacher Ali Barden, whose lately been impressed by new computer stations for every classroom, beautiful shelving and immaculate painting. It seems he's decorated most of the school.

Corbridge is a historic village on the River Tyne with an ancient bridge and traces of a Roman settlement. Last week, out of her window (polished, no doubt, by the dab-handed Geoff) she could see horses in fields and snow on the tops of the hills. "It's a beautiful place to be."

But life isn't always idyllic, and having Geoff and his wife, Millie, living on site is a great bonus. "He can be quite fearsome so we don't have any vandalism." His rapport with pupils and parents is always laced with humour so his new year's resolution "to be as grumpy as possible" is seen as a huge joke. "He loves the children and would do anything to make our school a happier, more efficient place," says Mrs Barden, who nominated him for our flowers, champagne and chocolate.

The children at Cowbridge (160 on roll, aged three to nine) have sent us drawings of Geoff (armed with a vacuum cleaner and broomsticks) with messages about him. Isabelle writes that he's always helpful. "Oh no, the ball's on the roof! Never fear, Geoff is here." Lauren says he cheers you up when you feel sad and always clears up their mess "or sits in his cupboard, waiting" (for more mess to be made, no doubt).

Geoff is also a staff governor, an invaluable member of the property committee and last year made an appearance as Elvis - a star guest at the summer fete. The man's a character, and schools need those.

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

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