Bow Tie Day at Ipswich’s Suffolk New College to say farewell to dicky-wearing construction teacher Mike Staff

Mike staff and Julie Begum enjoying the Bow Tie Day held at Suffolk New College.

Mike staff and Julie Begum enjoying the Bow Tie Day held at Suffolk New College.

Bow ties were donned by staff and pupils at Suffolk New College to mark the retirement of a teacher famous for his colourful collection of dickies.

Bow tie day in celebration of the retirement of lecturer Mike Staff.

Bow tie day in celebration of the retirement of lecturer Mike Staff.

Bow ties were donned by staff and pupils at Suffolk New College to mark the retirement of a teacher famous for his colourful collection of dicky bows.

Starting out at the college as a student in 1972 studying furniture making, Mike Staff picked up a part-time teaching position in 1978 doing evening classes and was offered a full-time role in 1985.

Mr Staff worked as a lecturer in furniture making for 25 years and more recently became the programme leader for construction. He will leave the Ipswich-based college today on his 60th birthday.

More than £300 was raised for Prostate Cancer UK during a Bow Tie Day held at the college on Tuesday.

Mike Staff, who is retiring after more than 30 years.

Mike Staff, who is retiring after more than 30 years.

People were encouraged to dress up while wearing a bow tie for a £1 donation, and an auction of more than 100 of Mr Staff’s bow ties was put on by the Students’ Union.

There was also a bow tying competition with the fastest time winning a dicky, a cupcake sale, and a bow tying lesson led by Mr Staff.

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“I started wearing them because I was working with revolving machinery and I didn’t want to get stuck in them,” said Mr Staff, of Christchurch Street, Ipswich.

“It became a badge really, people started expecting me to wear one and then of course people got them for me for birthdays and Christmases and a lot were given to me as gifts from students at the end of their courses.

“Some of the students who I taught became really firm friends and I have been to their weddings, am godfather to some of their children, and still keep in touch with many of them.

“I’m looking forward to retiring but at the same time I’m quite sad. I have been here for over 30 years.”

Mr Staff said he planned to “go back to his roots” during his retirement and restore old furniture in his home workshop, and also spend more time with his wife, Heather, and two Border Collie dogs, Jasper and Garnet.