Saying goodbye, teaching assistant Gill Baxter as she retires from Gurney Pease Academy, Darlington, after 40 years

Saying goodbye, teaching assistant Gill Baxter as she retires from Gurney Pease Academy, Darlington, after 40 years

A POPULAR teaching assistant has bid a fond farewell to the school where she has helped nurture generations of children over the past four decades.

Tears flowed at a special assembly as Gill Baxter retired from Gurney Pease Academy, Darlington, after 40 years of service.

The 61-year-old attended the town’s Reid Street School and Branksome Comprehensive as a child and worked with children from the age of 12 when she first became a babysitter. In 1981 she became a nursery nurse and joined Gurney Pease in 1984.

“I just loved being able to help nurture children, to bring them on, so they can achieve,” said Mrs Baxter. “I remember teaching some of the parents of our current children as well as one of the other TAs when she was a child. It has been a great school to work in.”

Her retirement comes as a blow to her sister, teaching assistant Michelle Hutchinson, who has taught with Gill at the school for the past 28 years. “It is going to be so strange without her – especially as she picks me up every morning – I am going to be lost,” she said.

Fellow TA Joanne Hall added: “Gill is just amazing and we are going to miss her so much.” Their colleague Donna Usher added: “She is a very good friend and someone you could always confide in.”

Many former staff returned to the school to say their goodbyes. Head teacher of Vane Road School, Newton Aycliffe, Kieran Pavey, said: “The kindness she has shown the children has been exemplary. She is a great example of someone who is lovely, kind and knowledgeable.”

Principal Alison Sinclair said, as a legacy of Mrs Baxter’s sterling service, they had introduced a special school accolade, the Mrs Baxter Kindness Award, a glass trophy that would be awarded every week to the kindest pupil.

“It has been clear from this assembly just how much the children love her and she will be sorely missed,” added Mrs Sinclair.

 

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