A TEACHER is retiring after more than 30 years educating children in a borough as she looks to embark on her artistic dream.

Gillian Ousby said an emotional goodbye to staff and students at Shadsworth Infant School last week after spending 29 years teaching at the school.

The 55-year-old previously spent four years teaching at Sudell Primary School in Darwen and is now looking forward to embracing her second passion in life.

She will be setting up her own professional art business online and already has a number of exhibitions lined up.

Mrs Ousby said: “It’s an emotional time because I loved teaching the children, but I think the time is right to go and do other things.

“I’ve always been passionate about art for a long time, since I was about four or five.

“But at the same time even at that age I knew I wanted to be a teacher.

“And that came first for me, but art has already remained a hobby.”

Rovers fan Mrs Ousby specialises in landscape art using oil and water colours but also does animal artwork using graphite.

She said she is also looking forward to being able to spend more time fishing, canoeing and swimming.

She already has an art studio set up in her home and a website set up to sell paintings and is looking for more exhibitions in throughout the North to attend.

However she is saying goodbye to a school she has many happy memories from, with highlights including the creation of a school community garden in recent years.

Mrs Ousby said: “I’ve been working with the Shadsworth community since I came here in 1989.

“When I walked up the drive I felt like I was coming home, the Shadsworth community has a very big heart.

“I’m very proud to have spent so many years helping students and families.

“A lot of things have changed in education, but one thing that remains the same is teaching requires lots of dedication and hard work, whatever the era.

“I’ve worked with some wonderful colleagues throughout my time here, I’ve been very lucky, they’ve been fantastic.”

Staff and pupils at Shadsworth honoured Mrs Ousby at a leavers' assembly.

Head Gillian Crompton said: “Gillian has been a brilliant role model to pupils."