School caretaker Robert Burchett from Holy Cross in Uckfield was runner-up in a competition to find the top caretaker in Sussex.
Mr Burchett was pipped at the post by Jon Murrell from Polegate Primary School but was highly praised in his nomination from Holy Cross business manager Denise Taylor.
She said he was a “firm favourite within the school with parents, pupils and the wider community”.
As well as his caretaking duties, he had set up a lunchtime gardening club.
Praising his versatility and sense of humour, she added: “Bob is a true asset to the school and a shining example of how varied the job of a caretaker is.”
The East Sussex School Caretaker of the Year competition is run by East Sussex County Council.
The council’s lead member for learning and school effectiveness said: “The effectiveness of a school depends on many things but it is certainly vitally important that a school is safe, warm and clean – a place where pupils and teachers can teach and learn.”