"Amazing" primary school cleaner recognised in New Years Honours

Averil Gibbins

Averil Gibbins has been awarded a BEM as part of the New Years Honours list. - Credit: Whitehouse Community Primary School

A long-serving school cleaner who retired earlier this year after five decades of service has been awarded a British Empire Medal.

Averil Gibbins is a recipient of the BEM for services to education in this year's New Year's Honours list. 

The Ipswich resident retired in April 2021 after 51 years of service at Whitehouse Community Primary School, where she worked as a cleaner.

Mrs Gibbins joined the school in November 1969, watching as three generations of her family, two children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren went through the school.

Speaking at the time of her retirement, Mrs Gibbins said: "It's been a lovely 51 years and everyone has been so kind.

"I am sad as I will miss everyone but I have got to be sensible and take things easy. I am so grateful to have my health."

Headteacher of the school, Mrs Andrea Hall, also speaking at the time of Mrs Gibbins retirement, said: "Averil is an amazing woman who has been cleaning at the school for 51 years

"She devotes all her time to the school and is very much part of the team here.

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"She will be missed by us all."

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