THE new term began with two fond farewells at St Thomas of Canterbury Bluecoat CE Junior School in Chester.

Pupils and teachers gathered for a special assembly on Monday to say goodbye to Father Peter and Mrs Adele Walsh who have both served the school for several years. Father Peter has been parish priest of the adjoining St Thomas’s church and chair of the school governors since 2003, while Mrs Walsh has been a popular teaching assistant at the school for about five years.

Pupils read out their personal memories of Father Peter and Mrs Walsh, followed by musical and artistic presentations by Year 3 and 4, in recognition of Mrs Walsh’s inspiring talent for art – these included a giant fold-out card in the shape of St Thomas’s church and a huge hanging mobile as tall as the children. The youngsters had also prepared two massive books of memories and photos of the couple’s activities over the years. Highlight of the service was a song written by Year 6 pupils and sung to the tune of Hallelujah.

Deputy head teacher Amanda Ellis-Rushton thanked Father Peter and Mrs Walsh for their unstinting support and encouragement for the school, its pupils and staff and wished them well in their new home and parish in West Kirby.

The children then presented gifts including a giant clock, reminiscent of that on St Thomas’s church tower, and a watercolour of West Kirby coastline.