A much loved and respected teacher who has dedicated her career to students at The Whitehaven Academy has been honoured with a special award.

Mrs Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Rothery was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at The Golden Apples which celebrate the very best of teaching in Cumbria.

Mrs Rothery has been a constant at the school since 1984, teaching generations of West Cumbrian children the secrets of food and nutrition.

She was presented with her accolade at a ceremony hosted by publishers Newsquest at the Energus Centre. Guests cheered and applauded a video made for the occasion.

Mrs Rothery said: “I love working in this school. The children here are amazing; they are kind, generous and funny.

“It’s lovely to get to know them, it’s lovely when you’ve taught their parents and brothers and sisters and you get that bond. We are a community within the school, and I think they really feel that.

“I’ve never wanted to do anything else. It’s so rewarding and so satisfying. Every day is different and the children are all different. It’s been a pleasure and it doesn’t seem like work, it’s part of me and who I am.”

She admitted to being slightly nervous about being in the spotlight, adding: “When someone told me they were going to nominate me I was a little concerned because I am quite quiet and shy. But I am very proud to have been in one school for such a long time.”

Colleagues and students paid tribute to Mrs Rothery’s remarkable career as a teacher, head of design technology and supportive and inspirational colleague.

Stephanie Bell, the academy’s current Head of Design and Technology, said: “Beth is one of the unique diamonds out there.

“She loves her job, she’s very passionate for her subject. She is responsible for a huge number of students coming through here and having really successful lives and careers and she’s always an inspiration to them.

“Since the very first time I was in her class as a student myself she was a true inspiration. She makes you feel so comfortable working alongside her and I truly believe she has been the key to my success in my career.”

Sharon Miller, food and nutrition teacher, added: “She’s caring, she’s sweet natured and very family orientated, and she’s interested in your life and family.

“I think she’s an important figure in the school and the kids love cooking with her. They really respect her and the efforts she goes to because she really does go above and beyond.”

Current students added their thanks.

Katie Kegg said: “She’s always there looking after you, I didn’t really like baking to start with but now I do it all the time. I think she’s a lovely person in general.”

Holly Kitchen added: “In every lesson she welcomed us with open arms. She’s developed our baking  skills and made me realise I can do it on my own.”

Headteacher Nigel Youngman summed up feelings at the academy.

He said: “Any teacher new to the classroom couldn’t have a better role model. Mrs Rothery demonstrates on a daily basis a love for being in the classroom and the pride she takes in her work is an example for students and colleagues alike.

“We – and the generations of students who have been educated at The Whitehaven Academy – are incredibly lucky to have her.”