Dedicated teachers to be missed enormously

HOME TIME: Marie-H�l�ne Chisholm and Jacqui Bowden with pupils at Stoke College in Stoke by Clare.
HOME TIME: Marie-H�l�ne Chisholm and Jacqui Bowden with pupils at Stoke College in Stoke by Clare.
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Tests, tantrums, talented teenagers and even a classroom romance which led to marriage – two teachers in Stoke by Clare have seen it all.

Marie-Hélène Chisholm and Jacqui Bowden have, between them, taught students at Stoke College for six decades, but on Tuesday the long-serving pair both retired.

“There have been lots of changes but I have always enjoyed the camaraderie in the staff room and teaching the new cohorts of children,” said Mrs Chisholm, who started at the school in 1981.

“It has been a privilege to inspire the children and send them into the world confident and happy.”

Mrs Chisholm, from Glemsford, said she had helped countless children get to grips with French over the years. Two of her pupils were childhood sweethearts and went on to marry.

“I will miss my work, the classroom and most of all the company of the children, because I love them to bits,” she said.

Mrs Bowden, the school’s head of art, who has been there for 27 years, said she would miss the ever-changing work pupils produced.

“I have had a lot of fun,” she said. “The buzz of the creative process is like Christmas as you never know what you are going to get.

“It is like opening Pandora’s box, but in a nice way.”

Mrs Bowden, from Little Waldingfield, said that she had converted her garage at home into a studio and would be making the most of it during retirement.

Headteacher Matthew Parker said the school would be a very different place without the duo.

“They are both fantastic people and we shall miss them enormously,” he said.

“We have two great new members of staff coming in, but there will not be a dry eye in the place when they go.”