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Much loved school cook hanging up her oven gloves after 40 years of serving Sunderland’s children

Dedicated school cook Eileen Kelly is going to be greatly missed by the staff and children at Plains Farm Academy as will her tasty treats of scones, biscuits and much loved cheese quiche.

By Neil Fatkin
Friday, 29th April 2022, 3:39 pm

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Eileen, 66, is hanging up her oven gloves and retiring after 22 years at the school and a total of 40 years feeding the city’s children.

In a specially arranged leaving assembly a tearful Eileen was presented with a range of gifts and flowers by children who also gave her a rousing send off accompanied to a backdrop of dancing and singing along to the Dexys Midnight Runners’ hit Come on Eileen.

An emotional Eileen said: “I’ve seen a lot of changes in the last 40 years but what I’m going to miss most is the staff and the children. In some cases I’m now seeing the third generation of the same family.

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" As well as preparing school dinners I like to bake cakes and biscuits for school events such as the fair and my scones are always popular – particularly with the staff.”

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As well as her cooking, staff and children will also miss Eileen’s friendly and caring nature.

Headteacher Lesley Cassidy, who said Eileen’s cheese quiche was her particular favourite, said: “She’s been a fantastic member of staff who has really contributed to the school community. During the Covid pandemic she played a key role in helping to put together the food hampers for local families.

Plains Farm Academy cook Eileen Kelly is retiring after 40 years of cooking for the city's children.

"Eileen has a very dry sense of humour and makes everyone laugh. She is going to be an absolutely huge miss.”

Higher Level Teaching Assistant Karen Quill, who has worked at the school for 21 years, added: “Eileen goes out of her way to help everyone – staff and children.”

Eileen’s character and cooking certainly seems to have left a lasting impression on the children at the school.

Plains Farm Academy cook Eileen Kelly with some of the biscuits four decades of children have enjoyed.

Year 6 pupil Brodie Wheatley said: “Mrs Kelly is always nice to the children and likes to chat – I’m going to really miss her. I like her scones that she bakes.”

Steven Wilkinson, nine, added: “My favourite is Mrs Kelly’s chicken nuggets. She’s always really kind and smiling.”

To celebrate her retirement, Eileen is going to be jetting off on a holiday to Spain and is also going to be learning how to swim.