A dedicated teaching assistant who has taken teams to new heights on the sports field was given a ‘lovely surprise’ when presented with the Guardian Rose.
Mary Paton, who works at Ryton Park Primary School, was nominated by colleague Cheryl Fox on behalf of the school.
Along with her assistant’s duties, Mrs Paton coaches many of the school’s sports teams, leading them to a number of championship wins.
Mrs Fox said: “She does so much for these kids, forever going above and beyond - even picking them up for training if they can’t otherwise make it.”
Children in both the boys’ and girls’ football teams agreed she deserved the award, and boy’s captain Brooklyn Walsh thanked her for the time she spent with them in training.
Girls’ captain Jessica Hooley, 10, and goalkeeper Sorreyl Kendall, 11, said: “She’s the best coach we’ve ever had.”
“She got us to Champion of Champions, and does so much for us across all the sports.”
Mrs Paton said it meant a lot to her to be appreciated, but that she did not do it for personal recognition.
She said: “I had a great PE teacher who inspired me, and if I can do that for these kids that’s great.”
“It can be hard work, but it’s the least I can do - some of these kids have real talent and I’ve encouraged them to realise their potential.”
She added that she wouldn’t be receiving the rose without the commitment of the children, and thanked them for their hard work and effort.