Caretaker Paul Wright retires from St Matthew’s Church of England Primary School in Ipswich after 33 years

Paul Wright is retiring as caretaker after 30 years at St Matthews Primary School in Ipswich.
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Paul Wright is retiring as caretaker after 30 years at St Matthews Primary School in Ipswich. L-R Alex Brown,Vihaan Sule, Shakira Hixen,Paul Wright,Tia Brade, Jack Parr, Jade Acheampong, Rosie Romanus. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

An Ipswich school caretaker who once climbed the flagpole to help mark its 150th anniversary celebrations has retired after more than 30 years.

Mr Wright once climbed the school's church flagpole.

Mr Wright once climbed the school's church flagpole. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Paul Wright, 67, locked up at St Matthew’s Church of England Primary School for the final time yesterday after saying farewell to staff and pupils.

Mr Wright, who has previously worked in construction in Saudi Arabia, said: “It’s been very enjoyable.

“There have been some really nice people. I have seen seven or eight headteachers since I have been here.”

Looking back over his 33-and-a-half-year career at St Matthew’s, Mr Wright said his most memorable moment was climbing the school’s church flagpole around 15 years ago in order to put a flag in place for the school’s 150-year anniversary because the pulling devise had rotted away.

Yesterday morning a special assembly was held for Mr Wright which ended with the children giving him three cheers and handing over a bible as a token of thanks.

Headteacher Sue Todd said Mr Wright, of Wherstead Road, Ipswich, would be greatly missed.

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She added: “A lot of people who bring their children here say they remember him from when they were pupils so he’s seen the school through lots of changes.

“He is always making sure it’s neat, clean, tidy and safe. He takes special pride in the hall floor making it shiny.

“He cycles everywhere so we prayed that the wind would always be behind him when he cycles.”

Mr Wright, who attended Copleston High School, usually locks up at 6pm, but he was asked to do his final duty early yesterday so all the staff could wave him goodbye.

The handyman plans to continue working on odd jobs during his retirement and spend time with his partner, Christine Dennis.

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