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Fitting tribute to former colleague and teacher

In a tribute to a much loved former teacher, students in St John The Baptist school in Hospital have re-published a cookbook originally printed 30 years ago.

In a tribute to a much loved former teacher, students in St John The Baptist school in Hospital have re-published a cookbook originally printed 30 years ago.

What’s Cooking is the title of the book originally published by Anne Kelly - a home economics teacher in the school who died in October, following a long battle with cancer.

Following her death, four transition year students in the school, under the guidance of their teacher Deirdre Brennan, undertook to re-publish the book as a memorial to the much loved teacher and colleague and, in the process, raise funds for Milford Hospice.

The result is a bright, beautifully laid-out and easy-to-read cookbook featuring recipes for all occasions, from family staples such as spaghetti Bolognese and Chicken Maryland to more exotic dishes like Hungarian Lamb and Kedgeree. It also includes sections on desserts, pastries, cakes, yeast and preservation.

For the four students - Katie Blade, Brid Condon, Sarah Kennedy and Ellen Hayes - putting the book together was an enjoyable - and challenging - experience.

“We had Ms Kelly teaching us for two years and she was a lovely person, so we thought this would be a nice way of paying tribute to her,” explained Ms Kennedy.

“As well as learning new recipes we also got to learn loads about how to edit and put together a book. It was also very good in developing our communication skills as we had to go into local shops to ask them to stock the book. There was a real sense of achievement when we saw the final result,” she added.

Mary Jones, vice principal at St John The Baptist, said the book is a fitting tribute to Anne Kelly, who was always generous in her willingness to share her experience and expertise.

“The enthusiasm with which she taught her subject and students reflected Anne’s love of Home Economics and her abiding concern for people. She imparted her wisdom to many students (young and not so young), in school and in out-of-school settings,” said Ms Jones.

“Passing on her vast knowledge and skills in how to cook and sew, as well as general guidelines on ways of improving life, gave Anne great joy. Her energy and generosity was also reflected in her work as home-school liaison teacher. Her kindness and comforting words, combined with a no-nonsense attitude, endeared her to all.”

Transition year co-ordinator Deirdre Brennan, who oversaw the publishing of the book, had discussed the idea with Anne herself in the months before her death and she said that Anne was very supportive of the project.

Given that Anne spent the final part of her life in the care of staff in Milford, it is appropriate that all proceeds from the sale of the work will go to the hospice.

The book is on sale, priced at €10, from the school and local shops in Hospital, and in selected newsagents and bookshops.

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