LOYAL dinner lady Rita Gladman has retired after plating up dinners at Kippax North J&I School for 45 years.
Mrs Gladman, 70, celebrated her long-term service at the Brexdale Avenue school with a special assembly where she was presented with a cut glass bowl from Leeds City Council’s catering agency Crown Point.
Headteacher Barbara Clark said: “We will all miss Rita, and wish her a long, happy and healthy retirement.
“Our pupils were fascinated to think how many dinners and how much washing up she has done in all that time!
“Her advice to the pupils is, ‘just try a little bit. If you don’t try something, how do you know that you don’t like it?’
“She has seen many changes, and different generations of families have passed through her hands, she is on the grandchildren of some of the people that she has served over the years.”
Mrs Gladman, of Valley Road, Kippax, – whose two sons and four grandchildren all went to Kippax North J&I school – is an avid bingo fan and played her favourite game with pupils on her last day.
She was made an honorary member of the year six’s Kippax North Bingo Dabbers Club and received a special set of bingo dabbers and a variety of gifts made by pupils, including jewellery and a memory book.
The great-grandmother said: “The whole day was overwhelming, when you’ve worked in the same place for such a long time you get so much feedback from the children over the years.
“I have been so lucky to be in a job that I have loved doing every day. There have been many happy memories and I have worked with some wonderful people. I would not have done anything differently and I think I will miss the children the most.”
Ms Gladman – whose first job was at Montague Burton’s factory in Leeds as a shorthand typist – said she would spend her extra time exercising her knitting skills making christening shawls for friends and family.