School remembers 'saint' of a dinner lady, Maria

Maria Georgio, who died in March 2020, and was a familiar face in the Sprowston area

Maria Georgio, who died in March 2020, and was a familiar face in the Sprowston area - Credit: Cecil Gowing Infant School

Past pupils, staff and children will remember a beloved school stalwart who died at the age of 71.

Maria Georgio worked as a midday supervisor at Cecil Gowing Infant School in Falcon Road West, Sprowston, for more than 20 years.

She died from cancer in March 2020 just before the Covid lockdown.

Maria was a supportive figure for children during lunchtimes, looking after youngsters while they played outside, offering first aid and was a friendly face to pupils if they needed help, according to headteacher Isabel Stubbs.

Mrs Stubbs said: "She put a smile on your face. She was like a grandmother and loved coming to work and was great with children."

Covid restrictions meant only a few people could attend her funeral at the Greek Orthodox Church off Prince of Wales Road before her burial at St Mary and Margaret's Church.

However people can celebrate her life at a service in St George's Catholic Church in Sprowston Road on May 21 at 1.30pm.

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Mrs Stubbs added: "We want the event to give people the chance to talk about Maria.

"I don't think she realised how much she touched people's lives. She was caring and happy and even when she was poorly she never let that get her down.

"She thought of the school as part of her family. We miss her."

She was also well-known in Sprowston where she lived and was a daily visitor at the Tesco Extra supermarket in Blue Boar Lane, and loved McDonalds and Marks and Spencer.

The 71-year-old also loved songs and one of her favourites will be played at the service - Maria by Blondie.

People are requested to wear colourful clothes and Cecil Gowing Infant School will open its doors at 2.30pm where people can share stories about Maria.

Mario Georgio with her friend Sue Hendrey

Mario Georgio with her friend Sue Hendrey - Credit: Sue Hendrey

Sue Hendrey, 63, from Keswick, who became close friends with Maria 16 years ago, said: "Maria was a Greek Cypriot lady who and was kind and generous. If you met her once she made an impression.

"She devoted herself to my grandchildren and they adored her. If we had saints in this day and age, Maria would have been one."