End of an era as school cook retires from Ixworth Primary after 44 years

June Wood has worked for SCC school meals service for 50 years and been at Ixworth since it opened 44 years ago. ''FL; June Wood with pupils.
June Wood has worked for SCC school meals service for 50 years and been at Ixworth since it opened 44 years ago. ''FL; June Wood with pupils.
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Retiring after 44 years as cook in charge at Ixworth Primary School, June Wood has seen many changes but one trend prevails - Friday chip day is still top of the menu with pupils.

Speaking on Thursday as she prepared her last school meal of roast gammon and chocolate crunch, she laughed: “We always get more dinners on chip day.”

Miss Wood started her career with Suffolk County Catering, now Eats, 50-years-ago at the former Ixworth Secondary Modern and joined the primary school when it first opened serving countless meals.

She said: “They’ve been trying to work out how many dinners I’ve cooked. My boss thought it would be about three quarters of a million.”

Working to recipe books provided by the school meals service, the menu initially focused on ‘good old fashioned food’ such as steak and kidney puddings but since then it has developed with ‘more salads and healthy foods’.

Miss Wood, of Ixworth, remembers: “We’ve always had our own cookery books but we used to be able to do our own menus. Now we get the same ones at every school.”

And that’s not the only change.

Miss Wood explained: “I’ve worked under about nine different headteachers. I’ve seen the staff go off and get married and have their own children.”

She describes the school as ‘her second home’ and was even a governor for for four years. Her nephew Oliver Wood attended the school and nieces Jessica and Ruby Wood are currently there.

“It has lovely staff and the children look upto me like an auntie and grandma. They’re all saying they’re going to miss me.”

On her future plans, Miss Wood said: “I’m hoping to come into school and help to hear the children read and I’ve offered to go out on trips.

“I’m going to eat out every week - I’m going to be a lady that dines.

“I’m starting to go on holidays because I never liked travelling very much. I’m going to go on some coach trips.”