Six teachers from Urmston Grammar have retired after racking up 190 years of service between them.
Merrick Weems, Mike Parker, Liz Parker, Charlotte Clowes, Liz Reddington, and Angus Campbell said their goodbyes to pupils via messages and Zoom following their most unique term at Urmston during the coronavirus pandemic.
Together the group have worked across the geography, English, drama, media studies, maths, PE, RE and physics departments, as well as taking on senior leadership roles, assistant principal, and vice-principals.
Some joined when the school served as a separate boys’ and girls’ grammar and have worked through since the amalgamation in 1988.
English teacher Mr Parker, who worked as assistant headteacher and vice-principal, spent 34 years at the school.
He said: “The compelling reason for staying is the students. To find the spark which will ignite their passion for a subject is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have.”
Emma Lowndes, who was head girl at Urmston Grammar, and has since gone on to become a successful actress, including appearing in Cranford, Jane Eyre, Downton Abbey, and, most recently, the film Military Wives, paid tribute to all the teachers.
She said: “I would like to wish all the teachers retiring from UGS this year all the very best. I have fond memories of school and still have the same best friends
“I started out being rubbish at English and ended up getting an English degree. I was asked by Mr Parker to read Bottom in first year from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“I was reluctant, but your love of English and drama allowed me to eventually discover what I wanted to do as a career, especially when I was cast in ‘Annie’.
“I will always be grateful to you sacrificing your break times to run a drama club and help me practice my monologues. Thank you so much.”
Principal Riffat Wall says she is ‘saddened’ by the way in which the teachers have had to retire not seeing the pupils in person and they will be sadly missed.
She added: “For me, teaching will always be the noblest of professions. Our retiring teachers have made such a positive impact on the lives of so many young people because they care so deeply about others.
“As teachers they have shaped future generations; they have done this through their passion for their subject; through their commitment to the pastoral development of students and through their dedication in supporting extra-curricular activities.
“Their impact will have changed the course of the lives of so many students; sometimes in the simplest of ways and at others in such dramatic ways that they would never have envisioned.
“I wish them all long, happy, healthy retirements – full of love, laughter, and adventure.”