A NUMBER of long serving teachers have waved goodbye to their schools as retirement beckons.

In fact, there are 27 teachers from the east of the borough who are heading for retirement having served a combined total of 801 years as teachers in the borough’s schools.

One such teacher is Gill Burrow who has been a teacher in schools in Atherton and Leigh for 35 years and 11 months and had been head teacher at Atherton St Philips Primary School up until Friday.

She said: “I had always wanted to be a teacher. I have taught in Leigh schools such as Christ Church in Pennington before I was made head teacher at Westleigh Methodist Primary School.

“I have been head teacher at Atherton St Philips CE Primary School for the past 12 years. Watching all the children grow into wonderful young people has definitely been a highlight of my career.

“I will miss all the families and the staff who have provided the fun and the sharing and caring.

“I’m only semi-retiring so I will still be involved with the teaching school but it will free up some time to spend with my family which I haven’t had much time for.”

Head teacher at Lowton CE School John Shanahan and Anne Kirkpatrick, who has worked at Newton Westpark Primary School for more than 36 years, have also said goodbye to their pupils.

Newton Westpark head teacher Vivien Birchall said: “Anne is a lovely, dedicated lady who has added to the lives of every child that has been in her care.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with her, she will be sadly missed.”

In total, there are 73 teachers from all over the borough who are preparing for some well earned time off - they have spent more than 2,000 years in total teaching children across the borough in both secondary and primary schools.