End of an era as Mrs Campbell retires after 40 years

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Dalintober Primary School said goodbye to one of its longest-serving members of staff last Friday, on the final day of term.

Susan Campbell has retired after 40 years of teaching at the Campbeltown school, the only one in which she has worked full-time.

‘My whole career was here,’ said Mrs Campbell, who graduated from Jordanhill Teacher Training College in 1979 and started working at Dalintober the same year. ‘I’ve taught generations of the same families – quite a lot of parents and even some grandparents.

‘I like that – it makes you feel like you are part of the school’s history. It’s nice to be part of a small community.’

Originally from Glasgow, Mrs Campbell applied to carry out her probationary teaching year in Argyll and Bute, having fallen in love with the area while working in a craft shop on Seil Island during her summer break from college, and was sent to Dalintober.

‘I didn’t know a single person in the area but the staff were really, really welcoming,’ she said. ‘I thought I’d maybe be here for the year – and then I met my husband, David.’

The couple married in 1982 and had two daughters, Lynne and Alison.

‘My children were brought up here,’ said Mrs Campbell. ‘They were heavily involved in the brass band and Sunday school. I live at Machrihanish and it is a wonderful place to bring up children.’

Mrs Campbell, who spent her first few years at the school as Miss Wilson, was presented with flowers at Dalintober’s prize-giving service last Wednesday, and was so overcome with emotion that she wasn’t able to say many words.

Speaking to the Courier afterwards, she said: ‘Dalintober is the best school in the world. It doesn’t feel like 40 years that I’ve been here. I’ve loved working with the staff and various head teachers over the years, who have all been very supportive and continued the school’s caring, family feeling towards the children.

‘And I will miss the most important people – the pupils, of course!’

Mrs Campbell said there has been a huge amount of change in education over the years, which has meant her job was never boring.

‘I love teaching,’ she said. ‘I love art and history – the Victorians and the Vikings and the wars of independence … I love acting it all out, making it seem real to the children.’

Mrs Campbell said that one of the highlights of her career was when more than 50 people attended a wars of independence event in the school.

‘Every child had a family member there and that was a joy,’ she said.

During her 40 years at Dalintober, she taught for six months at Glenbarr Primary School while job-sharing when her children were young, which was another experience she enjoyed.

Despite her love of teaching, Mrs Campbell is still looking forward to retirement.

She said: ‘I love my garden and I want to spend more time with my mum and my sister, who are in Glasgow, as well as David and the children. And I am a member of the Lorne and Lowland Church so I am looking forward to spending more time on all of those things.

‘I wish the school and current head teacher Caroline Armour all the best for the future.’

Ms Armour said: ‘Mrs Campbell has been an inspirational teacher to so many children over the years. She has been so loyal to the school and we will miss her terribly.’