Pupils say a big goodbye to Rosemary

Rosemary and pupils

Rosemary and pupils

First published in Education Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

For the past 22 years, pupils, staff and parents visiting the office at a Wallingford primary school have been greeted by the smiling face of Rosemary Garner.

Now, after more than two decades running the finances and pupil records at Fir Tree Junior School, Mrs Garner, 64, has retired as school administrator.

The Moulsford grandmother was flooded with bouquets in a special assembly at the school in Radnor Road on Tuesday.

Headteacher Nilofer Khan said 175 pupils aged seven to 11 said goodbye to Mrs Garner at the assembly.

Mrs Khan, who joined the school in September 2010, said: “Rosemary will be sadly missed.

“She is such a gracious, elegant lady and has created the warm atmosphere when people first come into the school – she has been our front of house.

“As a new headteacher I relied on her greatly, she is such a lovely person.”

Widower Mrs Garner, whose husband Colin died of cancer aged 53 in 2000, has two sons, Ben, 27, and Jon, 37. She also has an eight-month-old granddaughter.

Mrs Garner, a former Moulsford Parish Council chairman, said she would miss seeing pupils developing their skills.

She added: “When something clicks for a pupil who has been a poor reader that’s just magic.

“Shortly after I started, schools got their own budgets and computers were brought in and I was able to use my skills from previous work as a computer programmer. It has always been a welcoming school, but it is now much brighter and more colourful than it used to be.”

Pupils who said goodbye to Mrs Garner included Emily Brown, 10, and Lucy Cole, 10, who are both from Wallingford.

Emily said: “Mrs Garner is a real inspiration.”

Lucy added: “She’s always there when you get hurt in the playground.”

Now she has retired Mrs Garner will continue her work as chairman of the parish council’s events committee. She will also spend more time walking.

Mrs Garner added: “I have been walking in the Alps, and in Italy and in France.

“I have also joined the University of the Third Age, which is for older people no longer working full-time.”

Recently Mrs Garner, who joined the school in 1990, has been working two days a week.

Her colleague Annette Yener will now work five days a week instead of three.

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