Staff and pupils at R A Butler Academy in Saffron Walden have said goodbye to a much-loved teaching assistant after 30 years.

Kim Neeves has a long history with the school dating back to its opening in 1965, when she was a Year 5 pupil.

At the official opening on November 11 that year, Kim performed on the recorder to a group of dignitaries - including former deputy Prime Minister R A Butler himself.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Kim Neeves (circled) as a child at the opening of the school in 1965.Kim Neeves (circled) as a child at the opening of the school in 1965. (Image: Courtesy of Kim Neeves)

Kim's children and grandchildren also attended the school, and Kim joined the staff as a dinner lady in 1991.

Less than a year later she became a teaching assistant, and has worked in the infants school for more than 30 years, largely based in Year 2.

Headteacher Emma Vincent said: "Kim is unique, she has been part of the school from day one to where we are now 68 years later. RAB is in her DNA!

"Her knowledge of the school’s history is unmatched but more importantly it is her kindness and patience that have made her such a wonderful member of staff and such an asset to the school.

"Not only has she seen hundreds of children through the school, supporting them with their learning and comforting them when needed, she has also been a welcome face and font of knowledge for many new teachers that have joined the school and worked in her class.


"Kim’s calmness and smile will be missed by everyone and it won’t be the same without her. We say an enormous thank you to her and wish her all the very best for her retirement."

Kim retired at the end of the autumn term, saying goodbye to "a huge part of her life".

She said: "RAB is in my heart and in my soul.

"It has been a joy to work with so many children and watching them grow up over the years.

"RAB is a very special place to work and I’d like to thank all the staff I’ve worked with over the years for the laughter, support and fun.

"There will always be a part of me that stays at RAB."