EVERY year Geoff Sharratt has looked forward to his summer holiday but this time it's a bit different.

After a lifetime in teaching and 18 years as head teacher at Wigmore High School, he knows that when the first week of September comes around he will not be coming back.

Geoff, aged 58, is to retire from the 500-pupil school, which has received many accolades in recent years.

It has been included in the Chief Inspector of Schools annual report, has appeared twice in the 'most improved schools list' and has won two achievement awards for its continued success.

The school achieved Beacon status in 2001 and has recently been invited by the Department for Education and Science to be a lead school in the West of England schools collaborative initiative.

Geoff had an end-of-career treat when he attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace as recognition of his contribution to education.

"In retirement I shall continue to live locally as the quality of life in this part of Britain just cannot be bettered," said Geoff.

"School headship is all consuming with little time for family, friends or personal interest."

He says that he is looking forward to having the time to read the Hereford Times properly each week.