STAFF and pupils at Much Birch CE Primary School have said a fond farewell to a much loved member of the team.

82-year-old Shirley Jones began her well-deserved retirement this month after nearly 50 years as a Herefordshire Council employee working in county schools.

Previously working at Much Dewchurch school, where she spent seven years of her career, Shirley then moved on to Much Birch CE Primary, where she clocked up a further 42 years of service in a variety of role and looked after up to three generation of some local families.

The grandmother said her final goodbyes to the school in a special Easter assembly held on April 12, where she was presented with a bouquet of flowers and gifts by the Head Teacher, Bernie Davies.

Mrs Davies said: “Shirley has been an important part of Much Birch Primary for so long and has made a huge impact on the school and the local community, having looked after children, their parents and their grandparents for nearly 5 decades.

"She’s a wonderful character with a great sense of humour and she will be greatly missed by the staff, pupils and their parents.

“I would like to thank her for all of her hard work and her commitment to the school and wish her well for her retirement.”

Chris Baird, Herefordshire Council's Director of Children and Families said: “Nearly 50 years of dedication and service is a remarkable achievement.

“On behalf of Herefordshire Council I would like to thank Mrs Jones for everything she has done for the staff and pupils of Much Birch Primary. We wish her all the best for the future.”