A POPULAR headteacher has retired after more than seven years at a preparatory school in Frinton.

Barbara McKeown thanked staff, parents and pupils for their support during her time at St Philomena’s Catholic School, in Hadleigh Road.

Mrs McKeown retired at the end of the autumn term.

She said: "It hardly seems any time at all since I started doing this nearly eight years ago.

"I would like to thank the Sisters of Mercy, Father Frank Jackson, the governors, the friends and all parents and staff for their support during my time as headteacher at St Philomena’s.

"The St Philomena’s family has been a large part of my life and I will miss it but I am also looking forward to the future and all the exciting things that I plan to do."

A special presentation was held during which Josephine Geldard, chair of governors, presented Mrs McKeown with a gift and thanked her for her dedication.

She was also presented with a gift card by Virginia Bridges, chairman of the friends of the school, on behalf of the parents.

The children also got to say goodbye during a special assembly on the last day of term, where Mrs McKeown was presented with a commemorative book with messages from all the children and staff.

A spokesman for the school said: "Mrs McKeown had been in the post for more than seven years, during which time she oversaw many changes.

"There was a special presentation during the carol service, held at St Mary’s Parish Church, during which Mrs Geldard thanked her for her dedication during her time at the school.

"She will be missed by the pupils, staff and the Governors.

"The school is delighted that Philippa Mathews, headteacher of Gosfield Prep and Nursery School, has been appointed as the new headteacher."

Deputy headteacher Neil Whitfield will be acting head until Mrs Mathews joins the school at the beginning of the summer term.