Simon Rawle, from North Tyneside Council’s catering team, based at Churchill Community College fought off stiff competition and finished as a runner-up in this year’s Big School Bake-off, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions.

A panel of judges, including Jo Wheatley, once a winner of the BBC Bake Off were impressed with the creativity demonstrated by all those that entered. Aligning with the School Food Standards in England, this year all entries had to include at least 50 per cent fruit to meet the standard for the fruit-based desserts on the menu at least twice a week.

Simon, who was one of eight finalists, invited North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn to come along and try the afternoon tea he made in the final, which featured a black pepper scone with homemade blueberry jam, a Kirkpatrick tart with anzac topping and orange madeleines.

The Elected Mayor also presented him with a trophy and certificate honouring the work that went in to his outstanding run in the competition.

Speaking on Simon’s success, Mayor Redfearn said: “We are so incredibly proud of what Simon has achieved and he really has represented North Tyneside in the best way possible.

“The afternoon tea he made was fantastic and, like all our school chefs, he does an excellent job in producing delicious and healthy meals for our borough’s young people every single day.”

After being presented with his trophy, Simon added: “This has been an amazing experience for me and I have enjoyed creating these dishes for the competition.

“I am particularly pleased that my winning entry, sticky banoffee cake from the semi final, is now featuring on the school menu.”