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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Millom teacher retires after 39 years at school

A MILLOM teacher who has taught more than 6,000 pupils is retiring after 39 years.

Val Towndrow has taught at Millom School since 1975.

When she started her career the head of school Simon Laheney was one and a half.

She said: “Lots of kids say to me, Miss, you taught my mum.’ I thought I’ve got to get out before they start saying I’ve taught their gran.”

Mrs Towndrow had never been to Millom when she accepted the job, despite growing up in Coniston.

However, she fell in love with the place and its people and chose to raise her family there.

“Millom is a wonderful place; an absolutely amazing place to live and bring up children,” said Mrs Towndrow, who also worked with her husband who became head of art at Millom School.

Being promoted to head of year was the happiest time of her career and her abiding memories are of the Lipsynch performances which were the talk of the town in the noughties.

She said: “We did a lot of shows but a particular one we did, my husband and I performed as Tina Turner and Rod Stewart and the kids couldn’t work out who it was. Once they did the place was in uproar.”

The 61-year-old says she only feels 39 and has plenty to occupy her in her retirement.

She has a new grandchild due in Australia so she is hoping to visit her son once the baby arrives and she has three grandchildren in Newcastle who regularly visit.

In time she would also like to concentrate on her own artwork.

She said: “Working with kids you end up giving away all your ideas. You drain your creativity to inspire them. I will have some down time and I might go back into sculpture.”

She celebrated her retirement with a cruise on Coniston Water followed by a meal at the Bluebird Cafe.

She said: “I’d like to say a big thank-you because when people take the time to give each other time and encourage each other, that’s what teaching’s about. It’s not about exam results. Everybody is precious and I have always tried to bring that out in people.”

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