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Retiring Portsmouth teachers rewarded with surprise tea party

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TWO teachers preparing to retire after decades of fine service were given a special surprise by pupils.

Diane Cole and Lynda Fuller are both teachers at Westover Primary School in Copnor, Portsmouth, and yesterday they had a shock as children crowded into the playground for a surprise tea party.

One group of students performed a dance and then the school all sang their own version of Gary Barlow’s Let Me Go, with the lyrics changed to mark the pair’s retirement.

Headteacher Annie Gunthorpe said: ‘Mrs Cole is part of the fabric of the building.

‘She’s always had really high expectations of the children in reception. They always do outstandingly well.

‘Mrs Cole has taught every child in this school.

‘All the children in this school have been in her reception class.

‘The parents have come to view her as part of the fabric of the building, too.

‘It will be a big change in September.’

Diane, now 58, has taught reception children at the school for 24 years. She said it was a big surprise.

‘I’m here full time and I had no idea. It was fabulous.

‘I just love the children doing things like this, that’s what it’s all about. It was a lovely surprise.’

She said she has mixed emotions about leaving the school.

‘I’m excited but there is a tinge of sadness because it’s been a lifetime here with the children,’ said Diane.

‘However I am looking forward to a change. My husband is retiring, too, so I will spend some time with him. We will do things we haven’t had time to do.’

Lynda has been teaching at the school for the past 15 years. She teaches children in years 5 and 6 but has specialised in maths.

Mrs Gunthorpe added: ‘Lynda is skilled in maths. The children have achieved high grades because she really pushed more children to get really high maths results.’

Lynda, 57, said: ‘It was the right time. I will go on lots of holidays. It will be nice to spend more time with my family.

‘I can do all the things I didn’t get time to do when I was working.’

Lynda said she was thrilled with the surprise.

‘It was lovely. It’s lovely that all the children were doing things.’

 

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