A PENDLE primary school has waved farewell to its headteacher of 22 years after he was forced to retire due to ill health.

Frank Royle, 61, who has spent more than two decades at the helm of Trawden Forest Primary School, went off ill at the end of the summer term and had cited an intention to return to action after Christmas.

But he has announced his decision to stand down permanently.

He said: "I'm very sad to be leaving such a fantastic school after such a long time, but given recent health issues I'm unable to give the 100 per cent commitment that I feel the children and the staff deserve.

“It does however give me the opportunity to pursue those things I put off whilst working, my wife and I are now looking forward to a long and busy retirement.

“My heart and passion will always be with teaching and I will miss the children and the inspiration they have given me greatly.

“I feel very privileged to have been able to do a job I love for so long and I hope I can still be of help or assistance if called upon."

Mr Royle, who lives in Barrowford, has worked as a teacher in Pendle for 40 years.

Governors at Trawden Forest hailed the ‘wonderful’ contribution he has made and said his legacy would live on for years to come.

Dominic Lee, chair of the board of governors at the school, said: “The school ethos that he developed is extremely popular and has contributed immeasurably to the experience of hundreds of young people and indeed to the life of the village.”

David Whitfield is acting headteacher at the school and an associate is yet to be approved by the governors.