On Wednesday night’s show, a head teacher will become the heroine of her own fairy-tale when the BBC’s One Show will surprise her during a storytelling session with pupils at Peartree Primary School in Nantwich. Normally Boo Edleston reads to the children she’s caring for but this Monday one of her teachers suggested watching a celebrity story session online instead. Singer Michael Ball is set to pop up on screen telling a story of a much loved head teacher who went above and beyond, not just for her pupils, but for her community too – the penny will then drop, as he is telling a story about Boo herself, pre-recorded by the programme’s production team!
“It was such a beautifully written story,” Boo says about the experience. “I was completely surprised, I didn’t have a clue what was going on. It’s lovely to be thanked, but this is not about me, it’s about my team. They have been outstanding to each other in the last two months, they’ve been on the frontline too.”
Boo will be invited to go outside, where the One Show’s presenter Alex Jones appears on a big screen leading a chorus of thank yous from pupils, friends, family and colleagues who will gather to give her a heartfelt round of applause.
Teachers at the school, which has 220 on the roll, have been teaching up to 20 pupils of key workers in recent weeks. Because of stringent hygiene rules to protect them from Covid 19, the school hall where they’re being taught has to be completely mopped down and cleaned four times a day.
Boo is being nominated for the One Show’s One Big Thank You surprise by school dinner lady and cleaner Andrea Challinor. She says the head had been turning her hand to all sorts of tasks while some of her staff were forced by health conditions to stay at home during lockdown. Andrea says: “She goes above and beyond what’s expected of a head teacher. She just mucks in with everything. She’s been cleaning toilets, mopping the floor of the hall, washing soft toys. She’ll do anything. All the children love her.”
Mrs Edleston’s husband Robert and grown-up sons Max and Charlie frequently get involved in her efforts to help the wider community. Bob says: “Three Saturdays ago we were chopping wood to make kindling for the people who live on narrowboats on the canal near us. Boo was the driving force behind that, she got both our boys involved.”
He stresses her total commitment to her school: “Every child there is her own child. She often says that she has 220 children plus two more at home. This surprise is justly deserved. She doesn’t easily take the praise.”
Boo, who likes to cook to relax, has also been making meals for local people affected by lockdown and handing out pots of her home-made marmalade. She and her deputy head Ruth Hadfield have also been helping to cook lunches at school and are now preparing to welcome the rest of their pupils back to school in June.
Date: The One Show at 7pm on BBC1 on Wednesday May 20th