Meet the school cook who is retiring after feeding thousands of children during her 30-year career
A school cook who has devoted 30 years to feeding thousands of children is serving up her last meal as she gets set to enjoy her well-earned retirement.
Elaine Alexander is bidding a final farewell to pupils and staff at West Boldon Primary School on Friday, July 23, after spending 21 years working at the school.
The 66-year-old from West Boldon said had served generations during her time at the school, and loved her three decades of service.
"I have enjoyed it,” she said.
“A lot of the kids I give dinner to now I have given dinner to their mams before! So that has been really nice."
During her 30-year career, Elaine worked in school kitchens across South Tyneside before settling at West Boldon Primary, the school her son, Andrew, now 43, also attended as a youngster.
Elaine, who says her most popular dishes include chicken curry and mac and cheese, even pushed back her retirement to make sure colleagues and youngsters were well-fed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Keeping children well nourished during the tough months of lockdown, and the difficult times as restrictions eased, was an issue never far from the headlines.
But now Elaine is set to enjoy her retirement years, starting with spending time visiting family in Hull and celebrating her daughter Amy’s wedding in August.
The school’s headteacher, Linsey Garr, thanked the dedicated staff member for all her efforts over the past 30 years, in particular during the tough times of the pandemic.
She said: “Elaine has been such a loyal member of staff and an important part of our school for many years, providing countless meals for the children of West Boldon Primary.
"Elaine always goes out of her way to support the children and parents of our school community and no more so than during the Covid pandemic where she looked after us all, even staying past her planned retirement date to make sure we were well fed.
"She will be missed by everyone and thoroughly deserves a happy retirement!
"Thank you Elaine for everything you have done over the past 30 years.”