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NUMBER 13 may be unlucky for some – but not for the pupils of Greatfield Park Primary School.

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: July 18, 2012

Thank you: Year 1 pupils Ben Robinson, Keanu Collins, Nicole Bird, Chloe Robinson with Sara Mills

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NUMBER 13 may be unlucky for some – but not for the pupils of Greatfield Park Primary School.

Children there have been helped out by volunteer Sarah Mills for a baker's dozen – 13 years.

The 37-year-old, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has dedicated her life to helping out the pupils four days a week.

The trained nursery nurse, who has lived in Cheltenham for 17 years, listens to children read focusing on comprehension, making sure they understand what is happening in the story.

Headteacher, Nikki Flack, said: "The children love Sarah and miss her if there are times when she can't get here.

"There was one week when she couldn't get to school because the lift in her apartment block was broken and the children were so concerned about why she wasn't in school.

"They enjoy the quality, individual time that she is able to give them. They receive extra reading practice on top of their normal individual reading with the class teacher.

"She is exceptionally patient with them and she encourages them to really love reading, in particular discussing what new words mean and what 'story' is being told through the accompanying illustrations in the book.

"Sarah has a wonderful sense of humour too; this is especially useful with children who are reluctant or nervous about reading."

The children from the Hulbert Crescent school presented her with a bouquet of flowers to mark her 13th year volunteering.

Sarah said: "I love school and being with the children, it is very rewarding – I'm the only one who doesn't like the summer holidays because I miss Greatfield Park so much. I know I'm a volunteer but I see this as my job and I love it."

Miss Flack added: "We are extremely fortunate to have many wonderful volunteers who help out in our school, but Sarah takes volunteering to a whole new level.

"She has dedicated 13 years of her life to volunteering at our school and she is a very special lady.

"Most people say 13 is an unlucky number but, here at Greatfield Park, we feel the opposite. We are very lucky to have Sarah indeed."

She first came to the school on placement when doing her nursery qualification and has loved it so much she has stayed.

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