A MEMBER of staff from a Blackburn school is being given a long service award as she retires from the school after nearly 28 years.

Maureen Manfell, 66, is retiring from her role at St James’ Primary School in Lower Darwen, where she has worked in a number of positions.

Born and bred in Blackburn, Maureen began her career with the school in November 1993, being offered the job by the headteacher after putting her three children into the school.

She said: “It’s absolutely lovely.

“We had just moved back to Blackburn and the children started at school and they had only been there for a couple of months,” she added.

“The head approached me and offered me the job because my children had such good manners.”

Maureen began working in the welfare department where she was a dinner lady and since then has worked as a first aider, running the gardening club, cleaning and tidying the school, helping with outdoor learning, working in the office and being a site supervisor.

Maureen says she enjoyed the job, especially when she was off when the children were off, and thought she would get another job when they finished school. However over 27 years on, there were parts of the job that inspire her to stay.

She said: “The children - definitely the children, especially the keen gardeners.

“There were some that started in year one and they have been in gardening all the way until year six and they didn’t want to leave then.

“There was one child the other day, she has always been trouble, bless her.

“She said she didn’t want me to leave and that she would help to clean and begged me not to leave.

“I thought that was really nice.”

The school has seen four head teachers and a complete change of staffing, with Maureen being the only member of staff left from when she started.