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Teaching staff at Ipswich Hospital say a fond farewell to the classroom

PUBLISHED: 13:30 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:30 20 December 2017

Mary-Anne Rowett and Ruth Pickover say a fond farewell to the hospital classroom. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Mary-Anne Rowett and Ruth Pickover say a fond farewell to the hospital classroom. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

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Two members of Ipswich hospital’s teaching staff have said a fond farewell to the classroom - after a combined 25 years at the hospital.

Mary-Anne Rowett has worked at the hospital for 10 years, Ruth Pickover has worked there for 15 years. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT Mary-Anne Rowett has worked at the hospital for 10 years, Ruth Pickover has worked there for 15 years. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Ruth Pickover and Mary-Anne Rowett have taught thousands of children over the years, keeping their minds active as they spend time on the wards and making sure they don’t fall behind on their education.

When Ruth started at the hospital 15 years ago, the classroom was little more than an office and a trolley.

But through help from volunteers and fundraising it is now a fully equipped teaching space right next to the childrens wards.

Ruth and Mary-Anne, who herself has been at the hospital for 12 years, have even hosted GCSE and ‘A’ Level exams in the classroom.

Ruth said she was lucky to have the 'most amazing job'. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT Ruth said she was lucky to have the 'most amazing job'. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

“Over the years with help from my amazing friend here we have built it up to what it is now,” said Ruth.

“It was all thanks to help from our wonderful volunteers we have built it up into a well-used and well-respected facility for poorly children.

“There are more than 2,000 children that go through the paediatric department each year so we must see and teach more than 1,500 children a year.

“We have many recovering patients who are frequently in the hospital because of the nature of their illness.

“We become very fond of them, we see them through their ups and downs.”

Ruth said it is often the sickest children who need their services the most, wanting more than anything the chance to lead a normal life and go to school.

Although Ruth and Mary-Anne say they have hugely enjoyed their time working at the hospital, it can be difficult when a youngster receives a bad diagnosis.

Ruth said: “It can be incredibly difficult.

“Usually the children that become palliative are the ones you spend more time with.

“But it is the most amazing job, we have been so lucky to work here.

“We meet fantastic so many young people and wonderful adults.”

Mary-Anne added: “It is emotional leaving the hospital because it is a part of my life that is coming to a conclusion.

“We wish the staff taking over the classroom all the best in the future.”

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