Final bell rings on career of beloved Shrewsbury 'dinner man'

A beloved "dinner man" has finally retired after 30 years of supervising in the playground.

Long-time dinner man Terry Beeston, aged 74, says goodbye to the school with some of the current pupils
Long-time dinner man Terry Beeston, aged 74, says goodbye to the school with some of the current pupils

Terry Beeston will be a familiar face to anyone who, in the last few decades, has attended Shrewsbury's Mereside CE Primary Academy School - previously Holy Cross Primary and Springfield Infants.

He has been renowned for his energy, sense of fun and love of football by generations of pupils, as well as his kindness.

But now the bell has rung on Terry's impressive career at the school.

Terry, aged 74, who in his younger days was a popular disc jockey in the area and lives near the school, said that one the thing that he will miss the most after retirement "is the company of the children".

Terry has loved his time at Mereside which he says is a wonderful school

The father-of-two said: "Last year I suffered from various health problems and was off work and have finally retired.

"I have been a dinner man at the school for 30 years and used to ensure children washed their hands and then supervised them having lunch.

"I have seen several generations of children pass through the school. While there I even supervised my own daughter, Samantha, now aged 37, and son, Mark, now aged 35.

"I have now officially retired but will miss the children at the school who are absolutely fantastic.

"When I had a big prostate operation 10 years ago every child from every class wrote to me with 'get well soon' notes."

But Terry won't now be a stranger to the school; he'll still be popping in on a voluntary basis when he's feeling good.

"I have been invited to return and visit the school and take lunch with the children," he added.

"I did this a week ago and it was wonderful to go back again and see their happy faces.

"Both the children and staff at the school are really wonderful."

Terry pictured in his younger days

In his early working career Terry was a popular disc jockey, appearing under the name of Terry Jackson at several venues around Shrewsbury, including Tiffany's and The Cascade Club.

When he was 18, he appeared at The Elizabethan Club, the first casino in the town, where he worked as a disc jockey and croupier.

Terry, who enjoys playing poker, said: "I also like visiting the pub to meet friends and watch sport on television although I have been teetotal all my life."

Head of school Ffion Carr said: "He's been a familiar face for people here for the last 30 years. He's been that male role model which is really important.

"He's just a lot of fun, and always goes the extra mile for the children. He's always willing to dress up or wear a wig and be silly. All the children in his care have been made to feel special by him.

"Children who've left who are now older are always pleased to see him because of the kindness he has shown over the years."

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