A FORMER dinner lady has helped a Ponteland school’s garden project to further bloom following her death.
Dorothy Moffat worked at Richard Coates Middle School for 25 years, retiring in 2004.
She died last May, aged 69, after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Showing her deep affection for the school, Mrs Moffat requested that it receive all donations to her funeral.
More than £550 was handed over and on Monday her family came to see the two garden benches and four flower containers bought with the money. Some of it was also used to plant an apple tree.
Her widower, Scott Moffat, said: “She really loved her job — it was a big part of her life.
“The children used to call her ‘aunty Dorothy’ and if there was a crowd of kids on the playground or school field at lunchtime, she was often there.
“Dorothy was a very caring person, she always looking after somebody and she especially loved children.”
Daughter Allison Power added: “We are grateful to the staff at Richard Coates for getting the benches and flower containers, which are a lovely way to mark my mother’s time at the school.”
Mrs Moffat also leaves sons Neil and Stuart, and grandson Lewis.
She grew up on the housing estate by St Mary’s Hospital in Stannington and worked as a nurse.
She married Mr Moffat in 1961 and they lived on the estate for a period before moving to Ponteland.
Once her children were old enough to go to school, Mrs Moffat joined Richard Coates. After retiring, she and her husband moved to Shotley Bridge in County Durham.
Head of Year 5 Red Willcox said: “Dorothy was very dedicated and committed to the school and she was loved by the children.
“She was also a strong supporter of the PTA and attended all of the functions such as Christmas and summer fairs.
“We consulted with her family and as she loved gardening we felt something in that area would be the best way to spend the money.”
The school grows a range of flowers and plants, including vegetables to eat, and at the moment pupils are growing daffodils and sponsoring them to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. More than £250 has been collected for the charity so far.
Jake Hogarth, in Year 6, said: “Doing the gardening is a fun way to fill in time during break and lunch and it’s good that we get the chance to grow flowers for charity.”
Fellow Year 6 pupil Joe Carins said: “I enjoy seeing the flowers and plants grow and we’ve given the kitchens a huge pile of vegetables for dinner time.”