A much-loved school dinner lady with an "infectious smile" has hung up her apron for the final time after 37 years.

Bernie Fallows has seen generations of children pass through Bolton St Catherine’s Academy in Breightmet and its predecessor school Top o’th’ Brow Primary School.

And after many years looking after the children at lunch times, she is now retiring.

Mrs Fallows first started going into school as a volunteer to listen to children read when her granddaughter was a pupil at the school in the 1990s. 

She then covered for a staff absence one day and has never left.

Her great granddaughter is now in her final year of the primary school, making a fitting end for Bernie’s longstanding service.

Mrs Fallows told all the primary children in her leaving speech: “I’ve loved every single day working with you all, I’ve even some of your mums and dads and aunties and uncles!” 

Peyton, a year six pupil, said: “We will all miss having Bernie in the dining room each day.  She is really kind always helping everybody.”

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Myer, a pupil also in year six, added: “She was a very hardworking lady for 37 years in our school.”

Gareth Watson, primary headteacher, said: “Bernie has been part of the fabric of the school for such a long time she will be greatly missed not just by the children but also by all the staff. 

"She came into school each day with a smile that is infectious.

“One of our core values as a school is care and Bernie has been the embodiment of that for so many generations of children in the Breightmet area.

“We wish her a long and happy retirement; it’s certainly well-earned!”

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