School's loving tribute to caretaker Jayne

April 28 2021

CHILDREN at Our Lady of Lourdes school sang at the funeral of their beloved caretaker after she died from cancer.

Children at Our Lady of Lourdes school sing for the funeral procession

The funeral cortege for Jayne Walker pulled into the school grounds in Kingswood on its way to Westerleigh Crematorium so all the pupils could perform a special song prepared for the occasion.

Pupils were joined by staff, neighbours and members of Our Lady of Lourdes church for their performance.

Ms Walker had been employed as caretaker for 37 years before she died age 65, and her two sons attended the school.

She had started out as a lunchtime supervisor before being asked to be a temporary caretaker until the school found a replacement. The ‘temporary’ role ended up earning her the accolade of the longest-serving member of staff in the school’s history.

Many remember her for looking after the school’s chickens, which she would take for a daily walk through the playground, to the delight of the children. She would pick up the birds and chat to them, and take them home with her if they were sick.

As well as traditional caretaker jobs such as gritting pathways and changing lightbulbs, Ms Walker also accompanied children on school trips and helped out at the school art club.

The school has organised a collection of memories of Ms Walker. One member of staff wrote: “She was selfless, kind and full of optimism, wise words and grounding advice.

“Never did we part without her putting a smile on my face or a chuckle in my belly!”

School's loving tribute to caretaker Jayne

Executive headteacher Rita McLoughlin said: “Jayne epitomises everything we aspire to be at Our Lady of Lourdes.

“We are proud that she regularly voiced her approval and praise for the community spirit we have and the team we are. She was, and always will be, an important part of that team.

“Put simply, she is one of the very foundation stones of the school. Her humour and warmth radiated around the school. She was always busy and always thinking of others.

“Generations of pupils and staff may come and go, but her unshaking love for our school will be her legacy.”