East Leake Academy’s oldest member of staff, Sylvia Hutchinson, has decided to hang up her apron for the final time today to take her well-earned retirement.

Sylvia, who turned 80 last October, has worked as the academy’s staff room assistant for the past 18 years, serving tea, coffee and biscuits at morning break times to ensure teachers and staff are fuelled up and ready for the day ahead. Each week, she also treats the team to bacon sandwiches which have become a tradition among staff.

Prior to working at East Leake Academy, Sylvia worked as a lollipop lady at Brookside Primary School for three years making sure the children were safe and sound en route to and from school.

When she first joined East Leake Academy, then known as the Harry Carlton School, she made the staff room her own, bringing in brand new cups and cutlery and introducing snacks for staff. To this day, she still brings in new mugs, cups and glasses to ensure everything is up to her exacting standards.

When asked what she would miss most about her job, Sylvia said: “Everything really – the people, the laughs and even the moans! Some of the teachers call me their Agony Aunt. I’ve loved keeping the staff room in order and looking after the staff but I do tell them off if they don’t keep it tidy! A job is what you make of it and I’ve loved my time here.”

Principal of East Leake Academy, Kathy Hardy, said: “Sylvia will be sorely missed by everyone here at the academy. She has a great sense of humour, a generous nature and is always cheery. She is loved by all and it will not be the same place without her. We all wish her the best for her retirement, she truly deserves it.”

Sylvia has no plans to put her feet up just yet though and is determined to keep active. She commented: “I’ll finally have time to do all those jobs around the house that I haven’t had time to do!”