There were mixed emotions at a West Norfolk primary school when anniversary celebrations coincided with the retirement of its much-loved headteacher.
St Martin at Shouldham Church of England Primary School held a special thanksgiving service on Tuesday to mark its 15th anniversary and the retirement of Marika Mears, who has been at the school since it opened.
Mrs Mears said the event was a chance for the school to celebrate its past and look forward to a time of change.
“The service was a good balance between looking back at the life of the school and looking forward,” she said. “It was very emotional, with lots of poems and songs that brought tears to people’s eyes, including mine.”
Parents and community members were invited to the service, including West Norfolk mayor and mayoress, Colin and Julie Manning, and it was presided over by the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Rev Stephen Conway.
Children “sang their hearts out” to hymns and songs in their different year groups, and psalms and proverbs were read.
Mrs Mears said she had witnessed many changes in 15 years, including seeing the school grow from having 80 pupils to 220 and the opening of a nursery and IT suite.
“I’ll have some very, very special memories from my time here,” she said. “Children are what bring joy into a job and it’s been very satisfying going home every day knowing you have made a difference to them.”
In her retirement, Mrs Mears is looking forward to travelling more and enjoying hobbies, such as beekeeping.