AS they broke up for the holidays this week, pupils at New Lanark Primary said a big farewell to their head teacher, Margaret Wilson.
After a lifetime’s teaching, Margaret had decided to retire.
And although she has chosen to step down, it is clear that she will miss the children in the school where she has been head for 24 years.
“The children are just amazing,” said Margaret. “They are great children.
“To be honest, the children are just an absolute joy. They really are. I will miss them.”
And she added: “I have loved every minute of it.
“And we have really, really good parents. They are not only supportive of the school and the children, but of each other.
“It is a really good community, and I will miss it.”
Margaret, from Rigside originally, began her teaching career at a primary school in Shotts, before moving to Lanark Primary after six years there.
She and her husband made their home in Lanark, and raised their two sons there.
Margaret’s next teaching move was to Motherwell, as assistant head teacher at Calder Primary, before the promotion to head teacher at New Lanark.
She is just months short of 40 years in teaching.
Her husband has already retired, but there are no trips planned!
“I have no great plans,” said Margaret. “I am just going to take it and see how time goes along, and see what comes up, once I see what life is like without work!
“I have never really had time for hobbies because the school has been my life,” she added.
Margaret has ended her career on a high though.
During her tenure, South Lanarkshire Council has been modernising its primary schools, replacing almost all of them with purpose built schools for the 21st century with an £812 million investment and in spring 2014 the children were moved out of their original Victorian building, and decanted to the old Ridgepark School in Lanark while work took place in and around their historic school.
New Lanark Primary, which was built in 1883 as a replacement for Robert Owen’s original New Lanark School, sits within the World Heritage site, and matches the stonework of buildings in the conservation village.
For the modernisation, later extensions and outbuildings were demolished, and the Victorian building was refurbished.
An extension was built behind and beside it to house three brand new classrooms and cloakroons, with new office space created, and the original building now houses the gym and dining room, with a new all-weather pitch outside.
That was one major project Margaret wanted to see completed before she retired, and at the beginning of this year she was able to return with her pupils to the brand-new facilties at their original school, and watch the youngsters settle in to the classrooms.
“Everybody is extremelyhappy in the new school,” she said.