STAFF at Egypt Mill in Nailsworth have said goodbye to a much-loved cook who has given more than 20 years of service.

Shirley Sullivan, 70, from King's Stanley, worked in the kitchen for nearly 22 years and became famous for her steamed steak and kidney pudding - a long time favourite on the restaurant menu.

"I'm sad to be leaving as they are a great bunch to work with and there is always a lovely atmosphere," said Shirley.

"It is the best kitchen I have ever worked in."

Family and friends joined staff to wish Shirley a long and happy retirement on Wednesday night with free drinks for everyone.

She was presented with a bouquet of flowers, a necklace and earrings and a night at a hotel in Bath to enjoy with her husband John.

"It was a fantastic evening - just wonderful. I did not expect all the fuss," she added.

Before working at Egypt Mill, Shirley was head chef at the former Alpine Lodge hotel in Stroud for 17 years.

"I finished there on the Friday and started at Egypt Mill on the Monday, so I think I deserve a rest now," she said.

Shirley is from a farming family and her mother taught her to cook.

She created the recipe for her steak and kidney dish during her first few years at Egypt Mill and has been making it ever since.

Seven years ago the restaurant decided to put her name on the menu, and it is now known as Shirley's steak and kidney pudding.

Shirley said: "I will still come in and make the steak and kidney pudding if they want me to."

Carolyn Hilton, director at Egypt Mill, said: "A successful business is only as good as its staff and when it comes to commitment and loyalty, Shirley takes the biscuit."

Head chef Daniel Copcutt added: "Shirley is irreplaceable and will be missed by everyone."