A Harold Hill school cook retires after 34 years

�After serving 1.1 million school lunches and 2,000 pupils a cook has bid farewell to a Harold Hill school.

Mary Carroll worked at Broadford School for 34 years until her retirement last week.

Parents, ex-colleagues, friends, staff and pupils marked her special day with gifts and flowers.

Mary said: “I don’t want to go, but I must. I am very proud of the job I have done, serving the fantastic children of Broadford.

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“Quite simply they are like family to me, and I will miss each and every one of them.”

Malcolm Drakes, headteacher at the school, said her leaving party was emotional because some families had three generations that were served by Mary.

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He said she would be missed by everyone at the school, but that they wished her well for the future.

“If I know Mary, she won’t be looking to retirement as a chance to rest,” he said. “She’ll be up and out on Monday morning keen to take the next step forward. We’ll all miss her energy and infectious enthusiasm for her job.”

He added that she has seen an incredible amount of change at the school, and even when the brand new kitchen’s boilers broke down before Christmas she worked frantically to ensure the children still got their hot lunches.

Kevin Hobart, operations manager of Havering and Thurrock Catering Service, said: “Mary has been a stalwart of Havering Catering Service and has seen the rise and fall of the Turkey Twizzler and the return to good quality local ingredients.

“Starting in 1977 as a catering assistant Mary has seen thousands of children come through for school dinners, and she still prides herself on remembering as many names of the children as she can.”

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