Senior school teacher has hailed his ‘gem’ of a school as he retires after almost two decades of service.
Ian Mason has retired after spending the last 19 years as deputy headteacher ast St Joseph’s Primary School in Hartlepool.
The passionate Pools fan became a civil servant after leaving school and became a teacher in 1992, initially working at at Stranton Primary School.
An assembly was held in the school to celebrate the milestone and Mr Mason said performances by children ‘brought a tear to the eye’.
He said: “I was overwhelmed by the marvellous assembly delivered in my honour by my class.
“It was a fine mixture of shared memories, prayers and hymns.
“The children read and sang beautifully and brought a tear to the eye.”
Mr Mason said he is proud to have been involved with the school, describing it as a “special place where children enjoy coming to school, feel safe and are keen to learn”.
He added: “I would like to thank governors, staff, headteacher, parents/carers and above all, our wonderful children for their gifts and good wishes.
“I am proud to have been deputy headteacher at this ‘gem’ of a school and to be part of the St Joseph’s family.
“It is a special place where children enjoy coming to school, feel safe and are keen to learn.
“I expect it to continue be the centre of our community and go from strength to strength.”
A school spokesman described Ian as “very conscientious”, “keen to rise to a challenge”, “always there for the children” and “always had St Joseph’s children at the heart of everything he did”.
Mr Mason is a season ticket-holder at Hartlepool United, plays for Billingham Vets Over 40s football team, is a volunteer at Durham Cathedral’s Open Treasure exhibition.
His personal interests also include walking, cycling, gardening.
Mr Mason added: “I particularly enjoyed school visits to Carlton Outdoor Centre, Summerhill and the Lake District, involving canoeing, climbing and walking.
“I was always keen to lead the sports teams in such activities as cricket at Park Drive, football at ‘The Vic’ and athletics tournaments at English Martyrs.
“Many fond memories of working in class with the children.
“I hope to enjoy the Summer sun and pursue my interests in my own time.”