A LONG-SERVING dinner lady, who has seen thousands of children come and go, is retiring after more than 25 years at the same school.

Jenny Stoute, who has been working at Mowden Infants School, in Darlington, since 1988, is finally hanging up her apron after years of caring for children during their lunch break.

Jenny, who estimates she has looked after over 5,000 children throughout her time at Mowden, said that she “has loved every minute” of her time at the school.

The experienced dinner lady spoke of her love of working with children on her last day Friday 31 January; she added that she takes particular satisfaction from seeing some of her former students in later years when they have grown up and started families of their own.

Deputy headteacher Mary Abbey described Jenny as “wonderful” adding “she is brilliant with the kids and is constantly making life easier for the staff, there’s lots of upset children here today, Jenny will be greatly missed.”

As well as noting that Jenny has always been a leader and an organiser at Mowden, Mrs Abbey also commented on her close relationship with the children, to whom she always listened and made time to talk with.

Jenny said that the time is right for her to leave and she plans to spend her retirement relaxing and spending time with her granddaughter, although she says that she will still be popping into the school from time to time.