Loving her role as a dinner lady

Sylvia Hemstock and the tuck shop at Springbank Primary School which she runs.
Sylvia Hemstock and the tuck shop at Springbank Primary School which she runs.

Sylvia Hemstock is responsible for making sure the children at Springbank Primary School are well fed each day.

She started in the job 14 years ago as a dinner lady, and is now additionally responsible for the breakfast club and tuck shop.

Sylvia, who sent both of her sons to the Eastwood school, arrives on site at 7.30am each day and serves cereals and toast to pupils who arrive early for the breakfast club.

She then runs the tuck shop in the playground for the rest of the morning, where she gets the children to help her serve.

They offer toast, crackers and sandwiches depending on what time of the year it is – and Fridays are treat days, which Sylvia says the young pupils love.

She says: “I have three or four children helping me each day.

“I have different pupils each time to give them all a chance. They absolutely love it.”

Sylvia started at the school as a dinner lady, and slowly took on additional roles.

She says it makes the job more varied and she would be willing to expand her job role even further.

“If there was something that came up I would do it,” she says.

“It’s a great team of people I work with here at the school. I definitely want to stay working here. I love it.

“Every day is a different day. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”

The 54-year-old says watching the children play and be happy was her favourite part of her job.

“Seeing the children enjoy themselves is great,” she says.

“I talk to them and play with them, making sure they are all safe and happy.

“And also making sure that they have all gone in for their dinner, because sometimes they forget because they are playing so much!

“I love it, especially during the summer. Seeing the children smiling and enjoying themselves is great.”

Sylvia, who has always wanted to work with children, said when it rains during break times she organises Lego and other activities indoors, or the children go into the video room.

She is also the school’s paediatric first aider.