There was a big surprise for a much-loved octogenarian who has notched up 46 years as a community centre caretaker.

A special seat was designed and made for Mona Brough, 83, of Branthwaite, by architectural blacksmith Alan Dawson.

Mrs Brough is well known in the community, having looked after Dean’s Kirkstile Community Centre for nearly five decades. Over the years she has not only kept the hall in good order and taken bookings, but also helped to raise funds by organising bingo nights.

When she stood down earlier this year, the committee was keen to show its appreciation.

Vice chairman Carol Thomas said: “She used to take bookings, it was over the phone then, and would prepare the hall for people coming in and make sure it was clean after and locked up. She also used to hold bingo sessions, mostly for children but for adults too, at Christmas and Easter, to raise funds for the hall.

“She was fantastic at getting in the prizes. She just loved to organise things. She loves to see the children enjoying themselves.”

Mrs Brough has two sons and a daughter and lots of grandchildren and great grandchildren, said Mrs Thomas. Before lockdown she would go into Dean School regularly and listen to children reading. She previously worked as a dinner lady at the school.

“When she decided she was going to resign, the committee wanted to do something but had not decided what,” said Mrs Thomas. “Then Alan Dawson, who is a trustee of the hall, said he would like to do something and asked what he could make.”

The committee came up with the idea of a seat outside the centre and beside the church. “It’s the perfect place for her to watch christenings and weddings,” said Mrs Thomas.

“Everyone in the community can use it and would know it is hers.”

Mrs Brough was presented with the seat on Sunday by the centre committee with a few socially-distancing family and friends watching.