The much loved headteacher of Landewednack Primary School bid farewell last Wednesday after 22 years.
Sue Wilson actually joined the school as a temporary teacher – and never left.
After teaching reception and key stage one pupils for a numbers of years, she took over as head 14 years ago when Jenny Green left.
Mrs Wilson said she had “hundreds of fond memories” from her time at the school, adding that the last couple of weeks had been particularly emotional.
She told the Packet: “It’s so hard and so emotional for me. They’re just like a big family really, because we’re such a small school.
“A lot of the staff have been with me almost since I took over as head and they haven’t left, which has been great, so we’re such a strong team. They’re not work colleagues, they’re all friends and I shall really miss them. It’s going to be really hard.”
Mrs Wilson paid tribute to the community spirit at the school, where parents regularly took after school clubs and organisations such as the RNLI, National Trust and the parish church paid visits.
“I just keep going around thanking everybody – they have all been so fantastic,” she said.
Since taking over she has seen pupil numbers grow from around 60 to the 101 now on the school roll. She has overseen the building of the adjoined nursery, Little Lizards, and built an extra classroom to cater for the growing numbers.
Mrs Wilson is taking slightly early retirement after feeling the time was right for someone with “a bit more energy” to take over.
“The job has grown so huge,” she explained. “I just felt it was time to spend a bit more time with my family and everybody who has supported me over the years.
“I’m so going to miss all the children; they’re so lovely. And the families are so lovely. I’ve always had an open door policy in the school and the parents come in every day.”
Mrs Wilson, who lives at Coverack, said she would still visit regularly, adding: “It’s just a huge wrench, having done it so long.”
To mark her retirement staff threw a “wonderful party” earlier this month, at Lizard Football Club, with current and past staff and parents, ex students and people from the village.
A special leavers’ assembly was then held for the year six students on the last day of term, during which she was presented with gifts in. Pupils also sang her a song from their production of Treasure Island, with the words changed to relate to her.
Mrs Wilson added: “It’s just been an amazing 22 years really. I shall never forget it and look back on it fondly.”