More than six decades of service for two retiring High Peak school staff

Totalling 66 years at Taxal and Fernilee School, Judith Hearnshaw and Muriel Smith
Totalling 66 years at Taxal and Fernilee School, Judith Hearnshaw and Muriel Smith
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With more than sixty years between them at one school two staff members have retired.

Judith Hearnshaw has been a reception class teacher at Taxal and Fernilee Primary School, Reddish Road, Whaley Bridge, since 1980 and Muriel Smith has been serving up meals since 1986.

Totalling 66 years at Taxal and Fernilee School, Judith Hearnshaw and Muriel Smith

Totalling 66 years at Taxal and Fernilee School, Judith Hearnshaw and Muriel Smith

Both say it has been nice to be part of the community where they have watched children grow up and are now teaching their little ones.

Judith said: “When I first started the school was so small I had 16 pupils ranging from reception to Year 2. I finished with a class of 30 reception pupils.”

The 58-year-old from Chapel-en-le-Frith remembers working in the old building and has seen many changes throughout the years but was always learning as the curriculum changed.”

Judith added: ““This was my only teaching job and my life will be very different now I don’t have to come to school anymore.”

She will be spending her retirement holidaying in term-time, doing crafts and walking.

Headteacher Victoria Keen said: “Judith has been a wonderful teacher and will be missed by so many people, who respect her deeply for her professionalism and wealth of knowledge. All the parents and children will miss her kindness, boundless patience and commitment to the children.

“There was a suggestion that she has been so important to us, that we should have a statue of her in the playground.”

Muriel, also from Chapel, has served up hot meals to hundreds of children over her three decades.

She said: “On my last ever lunch time the children were all clapping, cheering and hugging me - I felt like a film star.

“I have loved coming to work, there has never been a day where I didn’t want to come and see the children.

“I will be sad to go of course I will but now I will be able to spend more time with my family which will be lovely.”

Victoria said: “Muriel goes way beyond what is expected and really cares about the children. She thanked them today for smiling at her every day and that is because she is always smiling too.”

Both Judith and Muriel were given presents from children and staff members.