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Havering dinner ladies who have served more than 23 million meals rewarded for their long service

PUBLISHED: 12:59 15 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:59 15 November 2018

From left to right: Eileen Barrett – St Ursula’s School, Eileen Wheeler – Parsonage Farm, Trevor Cook, assistant director of education for Havering Council, Jackie Staples – Parsonage Farm, Susan Lucas – Redden Court, Ann Manning – Ardleigh Green School, Carol Moran – Newtons School, Andrew Blake-Herbert, chief executive, Havering Council, Ellen Phillips – La Salette, Denise Critchell – St Marys School, Linda Williams – Gidea Park School and Heather De’ath – Frances Bardsley School. Photo: Havering Council

From left to right: Eileen Barrett – St Ursula’s School, Eileen Wheeler – Parsonage Farm, Trevor Cook, assistant director of education for Havering Council, Jackie Staples – Parsonage Farm, Susan Lucas – Redden Court, Ann Manning – Ardleigh Green School, Carol Moran – Newtons School, Andrew Blake-Herbert, chief executive, Havering Council, Ellen Phillips – La Salette, Denise Critchell – St Marys School, Linda Williams – Gidea Park School and Heather De’ath – Frances Bardsley School. Photo: Havering Council

Havering Council

Havering Council rewarded its dinner ladies who have been cooking school meals for nearly 400 years between them and have served up more than 23 million meals to schoolchildren.

To mark the 25th anniversary of National School Meals Week (Nov 12-16), the council has given 13 of its longest serving dinner supervisors a chance to put their feet up and let someone serve them instead.

They were treated to afternoon tea at Langtons in Hornchurch and the ladies were each presented with a plaque to mark their achievement, and to say thank you on behalf of the borough for their long service.

Carol Moran, who has worked at Newtons School, Rainham, for nearly 28 years, said: “Dinners have changed so much. We use different ingredients from when I first started. It’s almost as if we’ve come full circle. It’s more challenging. You cook from scratch rather than frozen.”

Eileen Barrett, who has worked at St Ursula’s School, Harold Hill, for 43 years, said: “I just love the job and the school. I love everything about it. When I first started there was just one set meal but now there’s a variety.”

Denise Critchwell, who has worked at St Mary’s School, Hornchurch, for over 25 years, said: “When I first started it was more or less the same every day and there was a lot of frying, but now the menus are more varied. Jamie Oliver made a very big impact.

“Children’s taste buds have changed over the years. So many younger children are going to nursery so their diet is more varied.

“It’s been amazing to see the children grow up and leave and then you end up serving their children.”

The full list of those recognised for their long service are:

• Eileen Barrett – St Ursula’s School – 43.25 Years

• Eileen Wheeler – Parsonage Farm – 29 years

• Jackie Staples – Parsonage Farm – 25.5 years

• Susan Lucas – Redden Court – 33.5 years

• Ann Manning – Ardleigh Green School – 25 years

• Carol Moran – Newtons School – 27.75 years

• Ellen Phillips – La Salette – 26.5 years

• Denise Critchell – St Marys School – 25.5 years

• Linda Williams – Gidea Park School – 29.5 years

• Heather De’ath – Frances Bardsley School – 30 years

• Sandra Mayhew – St Peters School – 45.75 years

• Jean Goodwin – Engayne School – 28.5 years

• Sandra Medlock – Rainham Village – 29.5

Andrew Blake-Herbert, chief executive of Havering Council, said: “We have some amazing dinner supervisors who have shown pure dedication to our schools and the pupils they have served. They have seen some major changes over the years in the way school meals have been delivered and have adapted and helped us to create innovative and healthier dinners.”

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