A DEPUTY headteacher is retiring after nearly four decades serving a community.

Trevor Ainsworth has spent his entire career at Rhyddings High School, under three headteachers.

He is affectionately known at the Oswaldtwistle school as ‘Mr Rhyddings’ and has even welcomed former pupils to his staff team.

Staff and pupils will bid him a fond farewell at the end of his 37 year career later this month.

Building manager Alison Smalley said the school will no longer be the same place.

She said: “He will be solely missed by staff and students as he actually taught some of the staff now working here. He is and will always remain the face of Rhyddings.”

The 58-year-old said he was looking forward to retirement, but would also miss school.

He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to have loved the place I’ve been my entire teaching career - it’s been really enjoyable.

“I’ve been here so long that sometimes at parents’ evenings, the parents are former pupils which is always really nice. The school just has that really close-knit family atmosphere. People come back, either to enroll their children or to join our staff as teachers which is a good sign, I think.”

The married father-of-one joined the school in 1977 as a music and geography teacher.

He has spent the last five years as deputy head, and has also been the school’s primary and secondary liaison.

He said: “Working with our local primary schools was possibly the most rewarding job imaginable.

“My task was to make sure that when the children arrived they felt settled and I really enjoyed spending time with the primary staff and pupils.”

Trevor will retire along with his wife Linda – a teacher at St Wilfrids, Blackburn – and the couple plan to fly to Australia to visit their son as their first trip as retirees.

He said: “One thing I am really looking forward to is not paying extra for school holiday trips. It will make a nice change.”

Headteacher Paul Trickett said: “Trevor has influenced the future of thousands of children and hundreds of members of staff.

“People come up to him in the street all the time to reminisce and the good wishes he has received on news of his retirement have been overwhelming. He really is Mr Rhyddings and wish him all the best.”