Enid Seely has been a familiar face in Deniliquin South School’s canteen for several decades, but she has decided to hang up her apron.
The end of this year would have marked 50 full years in the canteen, but Mrs Seely said she decided to retire form the volunteer position well before the official anniversary came up.
‘‘Wednesday (last week) was the first day of my 50th year at the school, and that’s when I decided to retire,’’ Mrs Seely said.
‘‘It has been good fun and I have met some lovely people and made wonderful friends, but it was just time.
‘‘I’m not ending my association with the school completely though. I will stay on for grandparent reading.
‘‘I will also continue to volunteer in the Deniliquin High School canteen.’’
Mrs Seely, who is a Deni South life member, first volunteered for the Deniliquin South School canteen when her children — Peter, Tony and Susan — attended the school.
She leaves as the third generation of the family become part of the school community.
‘‘It was 1970 when I first started in the canteen,’’ she said.
‘‘My two boys were already at school and Sussan was due to start the next year.
‘‘They were calling for volunteers, and at first I said I could not do it because I still had Susan at home.
‘‘My friends Edna Atkinson was a cleaner at the school then and told me that was no excuse. She would watch Sussan while I volunteered.
‘‘When Susan left primary school I kept volunteering because it was interesting work.
‘‘And then when my youngest grandchild left the school they asked would I still keep going? I now have two great grandchildren at the school.’’
Mrs Seely said being a canteen volunteer is not a lot of hard work.
For many years she was scheduled to work only one day per week, and was on call for other days if she was required.
In recent years, ‘‘as I got a bit older’’, she reduced her availability to once a month but still offered to be ‘‘on call if they were short’’.
‘‘It really is an end of an era,’’ Mrs Seely said.
‘‘As I was leaving (after retiring) I said to principal Liz Dudley that although I could not ring the bell (the Arthur Lewis bell, which is tradition for graduating Year 6 students) I would at least walk under it.
‘‘Liz said when I retired completely from volunteering with the school, they would make sure I could ring the bell.’’