Colchester-based Total Catering Equipment got a bit of a surprise this week when it found a crane outside the school kitchen it was about to outfit.

The dealer was due to install the catering facilities at Elmstead Primary School in Elmstead Market, Essex, with MD, Andrew Mumford, explaining: “On arrival at the school, with all the kit to go in, we found other work in full flow – namely they were having a new heating system installed on the roof and an extremely large crane was blocking our entrance.

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“Our options were to either wait a couple of hours, come back the next day (not easy when you have five main projects all that want finishing by the start of term), or talk to the guy in charge of the crane.”

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Total picked the third option, as Mumford detailed: “He then suggested that he could pick up the Rational combi oven and other items and crane them over the top of the school.”

This was exactly what happened, with all equipment and fabrication being winched in.

Mumford admitted to being a little nervous about the endeavour, especially when the builders’ walkie talkies had stopped working – they then had to use hand signals to manoeuvre the equipment.

However, all kit was delivered safely and the outfit is due to be completed today.

The building works began at the beginning of the school summer holidays, with Total stripping the kitchen out and whiterocking the walls, as well as fitting new flooring.