Watlington Pre-School has bid a fond farewell to its deputy supervisor after almost 30 years of service.
Pauline King, 68, retired recently after 28 years at the Shirburn Street school.
A special party was held for her at the town’s sports pavilion with about 100 current and past pupils, parents and staff there to see her off.
Mrs King, who lives in Chapel Street, Watlington, said: “It’s all overwhelming. I feel emotional to be honest. I know I’ve done the right thing but I can’t believe how many people turned up.
“I don’t think I’m ready to give up looking after children. I can’t think of one day where I dreaded going to work — I just loved it. It’s a fantastic place to work.”
She said being around the children was the thing she would miss most about the job and she had even looked after the parents of some of the pre-school’s current youngsters. During her time at the school she was the manager for two years and also an assistant.
Mrs King said: “Other than having my children I think it’s probably one of the best times I’ve had in my life. It was never, ever a chore. I always used to skip up to work!
“I’d like to thank the staff and the committee for their fantastic support and send-off.” Youngsters at the party presented Mrs King with a card in her likeness and sang her a poem.
Sue Roose, the pre-school’s supervisor, thanked Mrs King for supporting her. “I think, on behalf of all of the staff, we’ll miss her and make sure she comes in regularly to see us.
“I would say she’s really a pillar of the community — she’s been a dinner lady at the primary school; everybody knows her.”
Pippa Wheatley, a former chairwoman of the pre-school committee, said: “It’s very sad that she’s going and she put in many years of hard work for generations of children.
“I think it’s important that she’s been there to rely on and she’s meant so much to so many children. For a lot of people Pauline is the pre-school.”