Page last updated at 19:16 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 20:16 UK

Donor offers to help dinner lady

By Anna Adams
BBC News

Carol Hill
Carol Hill has lodged an appeal against dismissal

An anonymous donor has offered to pay legal costs for a dinner lady who was sacked for telling parents their daughter had been bullied.

Carol Hill, who worked at Great Tey Primary School in Essex, was said to have broken rules on confidentiality.

She says she acted after seeing a seven-year-old girl tied to a fence and whipped with a skipping rope.

A retired businessman has offered to help after reading about her case on the BBC News website.

Ms Hill and the donor, from Nottinghamshire, have discussed the case and she is considering his offer.

She has already spent more than £4,000 on appealing against the decision but said she would continue her fight.

'Odd decisions'

Speaking to the BBC, the donor said: "It beggars belief that this dinner lady was dismissed over this matter. I will be happy to finance legal representation at any appeal that she makes.

"I've become disenchanted with the modern trend for really odd decisions being made by bureaucrats. And one of the joys of getting older is that you can do something about it.

"It seems clear to me that this lady was acting with only the best interests at heart and the decision to dismiss her is thoroughly ludicrous. It seems to be a bad decision on so many levels and I felt genuinely incensed.

"If I can do something about it then I'd like to help."

It is a very kind offer and I feel overwhelmed
Carol Hill

He e-mailed the BBC and asked that his details be passed on to Ms Hill but said he wanted to remain anonymous.

The father of the seven-year-old girl who was being bullied has also asked that Ms Hill be reinstated.

It was during one of the after-school activities that Ms Hill had asked how his daughter was.

She told the girl's father that she had seen other pupils tie her up with a rope.

But he said she did not name the alleged bullies.

Ms Hill said she had been overwhelmed by support since news of her dismissal hit the headlines this week.

"It is a very kind offer and I feel overwhelmed. I have not said yes because I am looking at other alternatives at the moment but I would not rule it out.

"I've had letters from people of all ages. I didn't do this for publicity or money - I just want my job back.

"I've been devastated since I lost my job but I will do everything I can to get it back."

The school said it could not discuss individuals, but confirmed a meeting had taken place last week and the person in question would not be returning.

The school said its priority was to provide the "best possible education".

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