Headteacher bids farewell to Norwich school with a big heart

Two words were used to describe a popular Norwich headteacher when she retired last week, 'always there'.

Gill Blake has stood down after 22 years as headteacher at Cringleford Church of England Primary School, where a week of activities, social events and parties were held in her honour.

A party attended by more than 70 past and present staff, governors, parents, colleagues and PTA members was held, with Gill receiving a number of gifts.

Deputy headteacher Sue Barker led the glowing tributes, saying: 'Just two words sum up Gill – always there.

'She has been a fantastic headteacher to work for. She has shown tremendous commitment to the school, always looking forward.

'She has a great sense of humour, always encouraged laughter and has always been there for staff, children and parents.

'There can't be many schools where children throw themselves in the path of the headteacher because they want to talk to her or show her something.

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'It was all the little things she has done that made her a real person to them,'

In response Gill paid tribute to the support she had received after coming to the school in 1989.

'My time as head has all been about support. When I have got out of my depth everyone around me has held me up and dragged me into the 21st century,' she joked.

She added that there were a number of things she wouldn't miss including wet playtimes, making the decision to close schools during bad weather and the lost property store.

These were hugely overshadowed, however, by the things she would miss.

She continued: 'I will miss coming back in September full of new ideas and above all I will miss seeing the children achieve things they never thought possible.

'Children getting to the top of the climbing frame when they were scared of heights or children summoning up the courage to play musical instruments in front of an audience for the first time.

'I have found over 22 years that Cringleford has a huge heart and that was something special for somebody like me from the East End to find.'

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