A BOTLEY nursery’s most treasured volunteer has said farewell after 40 years of dedicated service.

Ted Lainchbury, 83, has been doing odd jobs for the Botley Primary School nursery since he sent his children to what was then called the Elms Road Nursery in the 1960s.

His grandson Sam, who is now 24, also went there, and when Mr Lainchbury retired 13 years ago he started going in to help three days a week.

He has now decided to retire for good and take a well-deserved break.

Melanie Pickett, who has worked at the nursery for 16 years, said: “I have probably known Ted longer than most people here and anyone here would sing his praises.

“He has come in and given up three mornings a week, cheerfully and with good humour, and he gets on with staff and children alike.

“If a toy car’s wheels have come off, or if pages need to be stuck back in a book, Ted will fix it. He is a miracle man.

“In the garden he is always a great help, knowing what season to plant things in. He is a very special man, and he will be greatly missed.”

Mr Lainchbury and his wife Ann have lived in Sycamore Road, Botley, for the past 50 years.

They moved to the area from Chadlington in West Oxfordshire, where they first met.

They married in 1958, and Mr Lainchbury worked at Morris Radiators on Woodstock Road for 39 years before retiring, aged 70, and taking up his three-day-a-week post at the nursery.

The couple sent their three children, Ian, Mandy and Sarah to the nursery.

Mr Lainchbury said: “I always felt I was giving something back to the nursery. It was about being useful.

“There were always odd jobs and bits and pieces that the teachers had not got time to do. It might be gardening, or cutting up paper, or fixing the wheels on a toy car.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”

Mrs Lainchbury said her husband was a “very calm and placid man, sometimes too placid.”

She added: “He is very generous, a good husband and a good father.”

Before they had children, Mrs Lainchbury worked at the Oxford Railway Station as secretary to the road motor engineer.

Five years after Sarah was born, she took a job at the Botley school as a programme manager, and then worked at the Diocese of Oxford Church House in North Hinksey until she retired.

On Wednesday morning, the school honoured Mr Lainchbury’s 40 years of service in a ceremony where he was presented with a magnolia bush and two bunches of flowers.

He said he was now planning to put his feet up, and continue taking five holidays each year with Mrs Lainchbury.