THIS York teacher must be something of a medical marvel.

Helen Smith, a teacher at Lord Deramore’s School in Heslington has achieved something few can boast - she has worked for 20 years without a single day off sick.

This amazing achievement comes as she finished the summer term last week without a single sick day logged, even managing to dodge Covid-19.

As The Press reported back in 2015, Helen had not had a day off sick during her 14 years working at her previous school, St Lawrence’s CE. At the time of leaving, she said she hoped her clean bill of health would continue, and it certainly has. She has now clocked up 20 years in York without a day of illness.

She said: "I cannot believe I have achieved 20 years without a day off sick especially during the past few months with Covid cases increasing.

"Towards the end of term, it seemed to be infecting people who hadn’t yet had it.

"I kept wondering whether it was finally my turn.”

There have been a couple of close shaves where she nearly had to take time off: Helen tore her plantaris tendon one Sunday afternoon which resulted in her needing to wear an aircast boot for several weeks. She was discharged later that evening and able to return to work the following morning as usual.

On another occasion, an early evening one weekday in February 2021, Helen was taken to hospital by ambulance with a suspected stroke. It turned out to be a couple of severe migraines. She was able to log on from her hospital bed at 8.30am the following morning to resume online learning for her children during the pandemic.

She was discharged at lunchtime with the children unaware that their teacher had just done a morning’s work from a hospital bed in pyjamas.

Helen has spent many years dedicated to her job and during the past couple of years has spearheaded making improvements to the school grounds.

As The Press reported earlier this year, Helen made headlines when she helped Lord Deramore's secure a gold award for their work learning about hedgehogs and how to help sustain and increase their numbers.

The school achieved the gold level Hedgehog-Friendly Schools Award after teachers, staff, pupils and students worked tirelessly for the past year to achieve the standards set out by the British Hedgehog Preservation.

She said: “It has been a wonderful, worthwhile project to be involved in. Hedgehogs are fascinating to watch and the children have loved seeing all the camera footage we have captured.

"Everyone has learnt so much about these prickly creatures and we even have a hedgehog first aid kit that we have used several times to help sick hedgehogs before whisking them off to Fiona at Urchins Hedgehog Care.

"A special mention to the Year 6 pupils of 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 who have been real hedgehog champions.”