Hawthorns Primary in Durrington has said goodbye to a much-loved teaching assistant who has been involved with the school for more than 20 years.
Friends organised a surprise party for Sharon Clements and parents past and present gathered at The Park View to show their appreciation.
Charlene Clement, one of the organisers, said: “The emails, messages and responses we have received in relation to her leaving are phenomenal. It struck me that she has touched so many lives over the time she has been at the school.
“As well as being a teaching assistant for so many years, Sharon is also an integral part of the Durrington Festival committee, so is a well-known face in the local community.”
Sharon’s two children, Gemma, 27, and Jack, 24, both went to Hawthorns, in Poplar Road.
She started helping at the school in 1997, when she joined the Friends of Hawthorns committee. She later became the chairman and served 15 years in the role.
From June 1998, Sharon was a parent helper in year one, then in 1999, she joined the kitchen staff but soon moved on to work directly with the children as a teaching assistant.
Sharon, 55, loved working with the children, spending most of her time with year three and, later, key stage two, after the first school became a primary three years ago.
She said: “Every bad day, it makes it all worthwhile. Every child is unique and they all bring something different. Even the ones who are challenging were beautiful when you got into why they were challenging.
“I am suddenly now seeing children’s children coming through, that is a very odd feeling.
“It was very humbling to see people I hadn’t seen for a while take the time to come out for the surprise party. All these amazing people, you realise you have touched their lives somewhere and that is what it’s all about.”
Sharon chose to take voluntary redundancy but will still be connected with the school, as two of her grandchildren are pupils there and a third will join in September.
She remains the vice-chairman of Durrington Festival, working alongside her son Jack, who took over her role of chairman.