A HIGH Peak headteacher has been paid an emotional farewell by the school where he has been at the helm for the past 20 years.
Rick Heys, 62, brought to a close his 40-year career in the education sector last week when he retired as the head of Whaley Bridge Primary School.
And he received a rousing send-off on his last official day in charge last Thursday, which included pupils and staff donning suits, ties, braces and even moustaches in his honour.
“It’s been a hugely emotional day,” reflected Mr Heys, who lives in Whaley Bridge. “I’ve had a wonderful 20 years at Whaley Bridge Primary School. It’s been the best 20 years of the 44 years I have been in education.
“I’ve worked with some wonderful governors, teachers, teaching assistants, school staff, parents and most of all the children, who are what it is really all about. The trust and support of the local community has also been very important.
“Overall, it’s been a huge pleasure for me, and I retire with very mixed feelings.”
His many highlights at Whaley Bridge School have included participating in school productions, the choir’s fundraising for Children in Need which stands at around £30,000, and his involvement driving forward fundamental improvements to the school building.
“Working with the special needs children has been another highlight,” added Mr Heys, who previously held teaching posts at Queens Post in Cheadle Hulme, Tithe Barn in Stockport, All Saints in Marple and Ladybrook in Bramhall.
Fay Walton, Acting Headteacher at Whaley Bridge, said: “He has just been infectious, full of enthusiasm, and a large inspiration to both the children and staff.
“The children will remember him for his sense of fun and inclusion, giving everyone an opportunity.
“He has changed the outlook of this school tremendously for the good of the children.
“We all wish him well and hope he enjoys his retirement.”
Mr Heys’ final day was also celebrated by each class singing a song from a past school production. Photographs spanning the retiring head’s 62 years have also been on display.
And days earlier, around 220 guests attended a celebration of his time at the school, which featured a local band made up of pupils’ parents, and speakers ranging from former colleagues to a successful Skype broadcast with his son in Australia.