End of an era as teacher retires after 36 years at South Shields school

Lesley Ramsdale at Mortimer Primary School's assembly, where she was presented with a drawing by pupils.
Lesley Ramsdale at Mortimer Primary School's assembly, where she was presented with a drawing by pupils.

An era has come to an end at a South Tyneside school as a teaching stalwart retired after 36 years’ service.

Lesley Ramsdale first joined Mortimer Infants School in February 1979, and was there when it combined with the junior school 10 years later to become Mortimer Primary School.

It is the end of an era, but the start of a new life for me.

Lesley Ramsdale

She has been there ever since, while her father, Ridley Charlton, was a teacher at Mortimer Comprehensive School until 1981.

Mrs Ramsdale, 58, who mostly taught reception and Year 1 pupils during her time at Mortimer, has admitted her retirement has not yet sunk in.

She said: “It was a strange week, and it felt almost as though I was just finishing for the summer as normal. I imagine it will be September, when the schools return, before it will really hit home.

“One of the things I’ll miss the most is Christmas time, because in schools it is quite something, and there’s a lovely atmosphere.

“This has been a lovely school to work in, and the children have generally been very well-behaved, but this is the right time for me to go.

“It is the end of an era, but the start of a new life for me. My final day was lovely, and something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Mrs Ramsdale’s daughter, Sarah McLarin, and son David Ramsdale, both attended Mortimer as children, while Sarah has since gone on to be a teacher in West Sussex.

Lesley is now looking forward to her retirement, and has plenty of plans with husband Peter.

She added: “I’ve got lots of plans for retirement, including walking, cycling and seeing some of my family who live down south.

“I’d also like to learn how to knit, and I might even take up painting. It will be quite strange to suddenly have so much time on my hands and not be confined to school holidays.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, though, and it is a very rewarding job, especially when you can see how much the children have developed, grown and become more independent.”