THE much-loved cook at a nursery in Chipping Sodbury has served her last meal to the children after working there since it opened 16 years ago.

Wendy Puddy has worked at First Steps Day Nursery in Chipping Sodbury since it first opened on September 5 2005. She served her first meal of fish pie to just five children that were on the books when the nursery opened and now the kitchen caters for over 50 children daily.

The talented mum of three has stayed with owners Clare Saphier and Hollie Dennis as they have navigated and grown their businesses to include a second nursery Sodbury Vale Day Nursery over the past 16 years.

Hollie said they were emotional when Wendy announced her retirement: “We cannot thank Wendy enough” said Hollie. “She helped to make the nursery what it is today and it wont be the same without her.”

Clare and Hollie own two of the most sought-after nurseries in the local area and they say their staff are paramount to their success and popularity.

Wendy who achieved a five star food hygiene rating throughout her 16 years of service started work at 15 in Pearson’s in Staple Hill before working at Hewlett Packard, the Halifax bank, King Edmunds school in Yate and Boswells cafe in the Shopping Centre.

The team threw Wendy a retirement celebration with a ‘This is Your Life’ tribute to the beloved cook. They also celebrated their 16th year anniversary.

Family, friends and ex-staff attended the party. Daughter Tracey who works at Sodbury Vale said: “Mum has always been well known for the wonderful meals and treats she makes, with friends and family often messaging for cheesecakes, scones and shortbread and many other things.

“Myself, my dad, my brothers and her seven grandsons are so proud of her and how loved she is by so many families throughout her years working at First Steps.

Wendy will now enjoy her retirement with husband Ray.

Clare added: “Wendy’s hard work and high standards have always ensured that the children are well fed and so many families use her recipes at home.”

Hollie added: “It has been a pleasure having Wendy at First Steps, she has been an exceptional cook, employee and friend.”