'Queen of Albert!': Friends, family, staff, pupils and headteachers celebrate Penarth LSA's 40 years service
CELEBRATION: Mary Lane (holding cake, centre) with current Albert headteacher Huw Jones, former Albert school headteachers Florence Tate, Eunice Grove and Jenny Robbins, and former Church in Wales School head Ken Evans.
A POPULAR Learning Support Assistant (LSA) at a Penarth primary school has celebrated 40 years in the job!
Mary Lane, described by Albert Primary headteacher Huw Jones as ‘the jewel in the Albert crown’, was greeted by around 80 people at a special celebration at the local school on Friday evening (January 25).
She was presented with a cake, champagne, flowers, and three pots of different roses - each by the name of Mary - to thank her for her decades of dedicated service.
Welcomed to the event by family, friends and colleagues old and new, a special ‘This is Your Life’ themed video - made up of pictures from throughout her time at the school - greeted her upon her entrance.
Mary first started working at the Albert Road school following a PTA meeting when her own children, Steve and Jan, were pupils there.
And she has even outlasted her own grandchildren at the school – with former pupils Ross and Scott having passed through the classes since.
Headteacher Mr Jones, addressing the celebration, called her the “Queen of Albert”!
“Mary is a remarkable person,” he said. “Ever present and dependable, she has gone beyond the call of duty for this school on many occasions.
“She has truly left footprints on an inordinate number of hearts here, and 40 years service is a remarkable achievement.”
Among the guests on the evening were past and present pupils, parents and staff – and even four previous headteachers Mary worked under.
Former Albert Infants head Florence Tate was the first to spot what she called Mary’s “special ability” with children.
“These were the days when you didn’t have classroom assistants,” said Ms Tate.
“But Mary was a special case. Nothing was too much trouble for her.
“You could just tell that once she started at the school, she was never going to leave!”
Mary, who recently turned 70, also worked under Eunice Grove and Jenny Robbins at Albert, and Ken Evans at the former Church in Wales School - where she was also their first LSA.
She said she was overwhelmed by the gesture on Friday.
“It’s been such a privilege to work with the heads and colleagues I have, and of course the children,” said Mary.
“It’s an amazing, family school with incredible teamwork.
“It’s true that once I started, I could never see myself leaving.
“Thank you to everyone, including those who were unfortunately unable to attend, for making my evening so special and for contributing towards the lovely gifts and weekend-break,” she added.
“I can’t believe they have done this for me.”