Doreen Jarmin, 86, celebrates half a century of being Boxford’s best-loved dinner lady
An octogenarian, who for half a century has been tending to scraped knees in the playground and ensuring that hungry youngsters eat a hearty lunch, has been recognised for her dedication.
Doreen Jarmin, 86, started her career as a school dinner lady at Boxford Primary School in 1966. And after 50 years in the job she has no intention of retiring yet because she still “loves” what she does.
She says her work, which entails everything from supervising students in the dinner hall to looking out for them in the school yard, is part of her daily routine and that she would be “lost without it”.
“I have always loved my job and I really enjoy looking after the kids – they are sweet little things and I get to see them change as they grow up,” said Mrs Jarmin, who is the longest serving member of staff at the school.
“It fills my day up and is somewhere to go every day. The headteacher says I am the only person who hates the school holidays.”
Mrs Jarmin, who has lived in Boxford all her life, has seen many changes during her career.
“In the days then I first started in the old kitchen, the cooks weren’t allowed to save anything from the previous day,” she recalled. “They had to come in and make the jelly in the morning and hope it would set in time for lunch.
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“We now have a new kitchen with big freezers so things can be stored – and dishwashers to help with the washing up.”
On Monday, staff at the school held a surprise party for Mrs Jarmin and this Friday at 2pm, there will be a special assembly in Boxford church.
Headteacher Toby Barkworth-Knight said: “There is one family in the school who Doreen has known three generations of, and the grandma still remembers what a great lunchtime supervisor she was.
“To make such a long-standing commitment to the school is an outstanding achievement, especially as Doreen has retained the joy for what she’s doing throughout that time.”