Dinner lady retires after serving three million meals

Diana Light and her catering team at The Arnewood School

A dedicated dinner lady has retired after serving at a school for 35 years and dishing up an estimated 3.5 million meals.

Diana Light joined The Arnewood School in New Milton, Hants, as a replacement for her mother-in-law Joan Light who had worked there for 27 years.

Every day since she joined, the school’s catering team has provided an average of 500 meals a day.

Diana  right) with the catering team from around 1993

Diana (third from right) with the catering team, taken in around 1993.
During her last week, headteacher Nigel Presnell presented her with a gift and a bunch of flowers.

Helping him with the task were four out of five of Diana’s grandchildren – all of whom attend the school.

At the presentation Diana was joined by co-workers and family members surprised her by turning up.

Diana in the school canteen.

She said: “I can’t believe it is coming to an end after all this time.

Diana preparing roast dinners for lunch.

Diana (first from right) when she started work at the school in 1986.

“I have seen many faces come and go over the years, but we have been lucky in the canteen and have always had a good team, I am really going to miss it.”

In her retirement Diana is planning to travel, spend more time in her garden and buy a puppy.

Front row (l-r) including four of Diana’s five grandchildren Oliver St. John, Izzi St. John, Diana Light, Madi Light, Abi St. John. Back row (r-l): Diana’s daughter Tanya Light and her partner Gemma Light.

Nigel said: “We shall all miss Mrs Light, she has been one of Arnewood’s constants – a steadfast and loyal colleague, who has literally catered for generations of students in the past 35 years.

“We all wish her a long, happy and healthy retirement on hanging up her apron and ladle.

“The family has been in charge of school dinners for more than 60 years – serving up between them six or seven million meals.

“It is quite a record and means there are few locals who have gone through the school and haven’t been served by a Light.”

Diana in the school canteen.




For more information contact Ed Baker at Deep South Media on 07788392965