Head retires after 16 years

HEAD of the Spinning Infants School in Ramsey, Diana Cooling, retired on Friday after 16 years. She was the sort of head who was on the one hand commended by Ofsted, and on the other happy to put her face into the stocks and have wet sponges thrown at her

HEAD of the Spinning Infants School in Ramsey, Diana Cooling, retired on Friday after 16 years.

She was the sort of head who was on the one hand commended by Ofsted, and on the other happy to put her face into the stocks and have wet sponges thrown at her - anything to help her school.

Mrs Cooling said one of the things she was most proud of was having encouraged the setting up of the school's parents and friends association 15 years ago.

"We have a wonderful working group. It has gone from strength to strength and has raised so much money. They have bought computers, PE apparatus, climbing frames, out- door equipment, smart boards and construction toys, which we could never have afforded otherwise.

"They are now raising £7,000 a year. I am also proud of how involved we are with the community. The town belongs to these children and we are lucky to have such generous staff who will give up their evenings and weekends so that the youngsters can join in with almost everything in Ramsey, the Christmas lights and the carnival and harvest festival."

Mrs Cooling, who has a grown-up son and daughter, added: "I have had a wonderful career. Coming to work has been more like a paid hobby. It is jolly hard work being a head but so rewarding. It's marvellous when children achieve and seeing how pleased they are.

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"I was very proud when we were mentioned by Ofsted on the particularly successful schools list. We were one of only two in Cambridgeshire and only 400 in Britain and that included colleges."

Retirement will mean that Mrs Cooling, who lives in Huntingdon, will be able to spend more time with her family, including her son, Ben, who lives in Bangkok, daughter Hannah and grandson, Isaac, aged 15 months.

Tragically, her son-in-law, police sergeant Jeremy Thorogood, died on July 4 after a long and brave battle against cancer.

"I want to support Hannah and I will have a great time with Isaac," she said. "I intend to spoil him. That's what grannies do."

Picture: GEOFF DURRANT

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