Brave Barbara Monro – described as a primary school’s answer to Britain’s best-loved baker Mary Berry – has sparked a money-spinning fund-raising drive.
And the dough’s still rising.
Mother-of-three Barbara is battling a brain tumour.
Well known and loved at Balshaw Lane Community School, Euxton, the member of staff, who has been receiving support from the Rosemere Cancer Foundation since last summer, judged the school’s weekly bake-off competition which raised money for the foundation.
For the past several weeks, classes held a bake sale, selling cakes made and decorated in school and at home. More than £500 was raised, with the classes raising the most rewarded with a non-uniform day.
“I was taken into hospital at the end of July where they found a brain tumour that had haemorrhaged and they operated straight away,“ explained Barbara, 56, who is married to Paul, with three daughters, twins Emily and Alice, 23 and Rosie, who has just turned 21.
The family live in Rotherwick Avenue, Chorley.
Rosie kickstarted the fund raising – and did a sponsored parachute jump as a birthday present on Saturday.
“I’m a home economist and have been taking food into primary schools in Chorley,” added Barbara.
“I’ve had 10 primary schools cooking, not just baking.
“They’ve been making soups, beef burgers and salads just to get them cooking.
“A lot of parents missed out on home economics at school because it was stopped as a compulsory subject in the early days. The children and staff said can they do baking.”
Barbara, who comes from Blackburn, also works for the Manchester Metropolitan University where she monitors trainee graduates.
She trained in Gloucester and used to teach in Tavistock in Devon.
She has already received radiotherapy treatment for the tumour and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
Barbara said her condition was discovered after she began to suffer from headaches – but she can’t remember anything about it.
“I didn’t know I was having them at all,” she said.
“It was only afterwards my family told me I had been complaining about headaches and I just collapsed.”
Barbara warned others: “The biggest message is always listen to your body and don’t push yourself.
“As long as you’ve got a few pennies in the bank, you don’t need megabucks.” She praised medical staff at Royal Preston Hospital for the care she has received from them.
“The NHS staff at Royal Preston were absolutely fantastic,” she said.
“For me they stepped up and I wouldn’t have wanted to be in any other place.”
She described husband Paul as “part of the dream team” of the family.
“They have all stepped up,” she said.
The school said: “Barbara has been receiving first-class support from Rosemere Cancer Foundation since last summer.
“As she is well known around our school community as being our answer to Mary Berry, we organised weekly bake-offs to raise funds for the charity.
Over the last four weeks, classes have paired up to hold a bake-sale, selling cakes made and decorated in school and at home.”