Popular primary school cook serves her last plates of food

Cook Mary Coar is retiring after 20 years at St Michael and St John's RC Primary School, Clitheroe.
Cook Mary Coar is retiring after 20 years at St Michael and St John's RC Primary School, Clitheroe.

A school cook who has been preparing and serving food to youngsters for the past 23 years is hanging up her apron.

Mrs Mary Coar will serve her last school dinner tomorrow after cooking for pupils and staff at St Michael and St John’s RC Primary School on Lowergate in Clitheroe for the past two decades.

Sixty-two-year-old Mrs Coar, who also worked as a cook at Whalley CE Primary School for a few years before being employed by Mr Vincent Murray, the then headteacher at St Michael and St John’s, said she is looking forward to spending more time at home with her family.

However, the mother-of-two, who lives at Fields Farm, Waddington, with her husband John and son Michael (32), is just as busy at home as she is working full-time five days a week as a school cook.

“We have 120 cows on our dairy farm so I like to be outside for 5-30 to 5-45am each morning before the milk tanker arrives on the yard,” said Mrs Coar.

“I then make breakfast for my husband and son and then set off for school getting here about 8am.”

She added: “I also have a father who is in his nineties and lives in the village so I go to see him three times a day and look after him.”

Mrs Coar also has a 15-month-old grandson called Jason, the son of her daughter Sarah (28), who is expecting another baby which is due on Easter Monday.

“I could do with doing just a bit less work,” said Mrs Coar. “I will be sad to go and I’ve had some good times here, but I would like to have it a bit easier.

“I see pupils now coming to school dropped off by their parents who I’ve also cooked for and I think it’s time to hand over to someone younger.”

Mrs Coar said she had enjoyed catering for many fantastic events while at St Michael and St John’s including HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Highlights of her time at the school have included welcoming chefs plus food producers and suppliers into her kitchen for special food week events.

She added that these days children can choose from a wider variety of foods on the school menu which she added has become healthier.

A special farewell assembly will be held for Mrs Coar at the school tomorrow.