After decades of supporting youngsters in their learning, one woman is saying a fond farewell to her beloved school.

Senior teaching assistant, Joan Ball, has been an invaluable help to pupils at Valley Primary School and Nursery, Whitehaven, for 34 years.

But her time at the school began much earlier, when she and her siblings attended Valley as children.

And it's not just Joan who adores the school, as her husband, Bill, is the proud site manager, and even her mum is a former cleaner of the school.

During her time as a teaching assistant, the "kind and caring" Joan has helped to support hundreds of both children and staff, and she will be greatly missed by everyone at the school following her retirement.

Headteacher Nigel Shipton-Smith said: “Mrs Ball has helped to promote the kind and caring environment where all the children she has worked with feel safe and cared for.

“She will be greatly missed by all the children, staff and parents, and we would like to wish her a long and happy retirement.”

And the feeling is mutual, as the devoted teaching assistant – and lifelong Valley School member – will miss all at the school as well.

Commenting on her retirement, and her years of joy at the school, Joan said: “The Valley has always been a significant part of my life.

“Over the past 34 years I have worked with some amazing people, and have made some lifelong friends.

“[Pupils I taught] are now returning as parents themselves, and bringing their own children to the school!”

She continued: “I would like to thank the head, staff, parents and pupils, both past and present, for making my time at the Valley such a memorable one.

“I have so many happy memories, which I will carry in my heart forever.”