Thanks for doing a brilliant job

9th January 2004 at 00:00
Eirwen Williams has been the reception class teacher for 38 years, and the deputy head for 33 years at Nantgaredig primary school near Carmarthen, west Wales.

After a lifetime's career in the village school, Mrs Williams finally retired at the end of last term amid a flurry of parties and celebratory dinners with friends, colleagues, pupils and dignitaries. In a final nostalgic assembly, the children from every year group presented a scrapbook of happy memories and grateful thanks to the teacher who has taught them, their parents and extended families. Mrs Williams has worked for four headteachers at Nantgaredig and has been second-in-command for much of that time. But full-time teaching of the reception class has been her life's work.

"She's a wonderful person," says headteacher Gareth Morgans, who's been at the school a mere six years and whose daughter Megan nominated her for our flowers, champagne and chocolates. "She takes an interest in the children from the moment they start here. She's still asking their parents how they're doing, even when they're grown up."

The school has 210 pupils aged four to 11, three times as many as when she started. "She's a people person. She's energetic and knows all the families and their histories," says Mr Morgans. Mrs Williams lives in the centre of Nantgaredig and has been at the hub of many organisations - the chapel, the school governing body, the young farmers. She's also a magistrate and sees retirement as a chance to do more service on the bench.

Her colleagues can't believe that her friendly presence, ever-supportive with plenty of biscuits, won't be there doing playground duty. No doubt she'll wave as she goes by.

Is there an unsung hero in your school? Tell Sarah Bayliss, TESFriday editor, about him or her at the address below. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks amp; Spencer

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