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Golden Service

When it comes to serving a tasty meal, few can compete with the dinner lady duo of Hilary Holman and Helen Chaplin at Hethersett Woodside Infant and Nursery School. Helen and Hilary are pictured above with some of the children 

Hilary and Helen have been awarded the prestigious NORSE dining centre team of the year prize for their excellence in serving youngsters at the school. 

The duo joined other NORSE winners for a presentation meal and evening at Norwich Holiday Inn and received their award from television personality Helen McDermott. 

It was a particularly memorable evening for Hilary who has been associated with Woodside School for 26 years, firstly as a playground assistant and then as a dinner lady for the past 19. 

Co-winner Helen, who herself has been at the school for five years, was quick to praise her companion: “Cut Hilary in half and she would have Hethersett written right through,” she said. 

Hilary and Helen were nominated for the award by the then Head Teacher Helen Lamb who paid her own tribute to their “happy and positive attitude.” 

“The food is always well presented and they encourage the children to try a little of something different. The happy, calm and organised lunchtime is led by Hilary who has played an outstanding role within our school. 

“Our pupils love them dearly and Hilary has also been fully involved in school life organising special days and always joining in themed days by wearing costumes and hats.” 

School secretary Jo Adcock said “They are simply fantastic.” 

Over the years Hilary, who was born in neighbouring Great Melton but lived most of her life in Hethersett, has seen big changes in the food, which is delivered to the school by NORSE. This has seen it change from the more basic fare of two decades ago to today’s menus which include dishes such as Chicken Korma. Cottage Pie, Chinese Pork Ribs and Pasta Bolognaise. She admits that she has thoroughly enjoyed dishing it all up: 

“Over the years I have served food to hundreds of children, many of whom now have youngsters of their own at the school,” Hilary said adding that she was very surprised to win the award.