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Colleagues, pupils and parents wished Mrs Catriona Smith of Whiting Bay primary school a fond farewell at the end of the school term last week when the much loved teacher retired after more than 32 years of service.
Mrs Smith is not only well known and well liked in Whiting Bay but is also known by pupils and parents across the island after having taught in many schools on Arran before finally settling down in Whiting Bay.
Possibly one the youngest teachers in recent times, Mrs Smith came to Arran and started her teaching career when she was just 19, having left school at the end of her fifth year. Two days after starting, she celebrated her 20th birthday which means that she has now been teaching former pupils’ children but thankfully, she quips, not quite their grandchildren!
For the last 13 years, Mrs Smith has been in the middle class, working with a combination of primary 3, 4 and 5s. Prior to that, she spent almost 20 years teaching in the infant class.
One colleague said: ‘Catriona has been a great teacher, and has become the Whiting Bay French specialist, among her many talents. She is always upbeat and cheerful, and is not phased easily. She keeps the staff room smiling with her anecdotes and views on the world, including the latest news on Love Island!’
Mrs Smith is looking forward to having more time to spend on her hobbies and with her own children but will remain on the supply list so she might make the occasional welcome return. Her husband Brian is still working – she has told him that he has to work for at least a few more years to let her sustain her QVC addiction. Catriona loves her garden and is looking forward to spending more time in it as well as relaxing in her new garden furniture with a book.
She has three boys and will be able to spend more time with them, and although they are living away from home, she will now be able to make plans to spend more time with them.
She will also be able to devote more time to her other great joy, singing in the Arran Singers choir, which practices weekly and hosts a variety of performances annually.
While Mrs Smith is undecided on what the long term future holds for her, she is looking forward to celebrating her big birthday in London with her best friend, Jane Boyle. Everything has been booked for months and they have been saving to have an indulgent time. They are visiting the Mary Quant exhibition, going to the theatre, Convent Garden and do plenty of shopping.
Pupils present Mrs Smith with a bouquet of flowers on her final day at Whiting Bay Primary School. No_B28smith01
Mrs Smith has played an integral part during her 32 years at the school which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. No_B28smith02
Mrs Smith with a number of gifts and mementos she received from parents, pupils and colleagues. No_B28smith03