Busy 93-year-old volunteer says bye to Grantham school

Mrs Pamela Holden with trophy winner Miller Bradley and the head boys and girls of St Mary's Catholic Primary School. 0196A
Mrs Pamela Holden with trophy winner Miller Bradley and the head boys and girls of St Mary's Catholic Primary School. 0196A
Have your say

A 93-year-old whose packed weekly schedule includes yoga class and visits to the Royal Air Force Association, but who still found time to help children with their reading at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, received a farewell ceremony from pupils and staff last week.

Pamela Holden from Jubilee Avenue moved to West Bridgeford this week on health grounds, but before she went the school wanted to thank her for decades of voluntary service with a special ceremony at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. On her connection to St Mary’s Primary, Mrs Holden said: “It goes back to 1958 when my step-grandchilden were in the school.

“Then in 1972 I became a governor, and was so for 22 years.

“For 30 years I have been listening to the children read.”

Every Tuesday afternoon Mrs Holden has gone into the school to hear their pupils reading, which forms just part of her busy week.

As well as that, she also enjoys yoga, attends an arthritis care group and is a keen member of the Royal Air Force association, having worked for the RAF throughout her life.

Headteacher at St Mary’s Geraldine Willders had the idea to hold a special service for staff and students to say goodbye.

Mrs Willders said: “She has been associated with the school for such a long time.

“We did a show of hands during the ceremony of who Mrs Holden has listened to reading and every child put their hand up.

“If she has been able to touch that many lives.

“ I think it is only right and fitting that we express our thanks and wish her well as she moves to her new place.”

During the service the children sang hymns which reminded them of Mrs Holden, and to demonstrate just how much she has helped them gave readings in front of the packed church.

In honour of her commitment the school have created a ‘Mrs Holden’ trophy to be awarded each term to the most improved reader.

In particular Mrs Holden wanted the award to be for children in the lower years at the point when they are just starting to read, with the first winner being Miller Bradley from year two, who said: “I was really proud and happy when Mrs Holden gave me the trophy and I have put it near the television so we can see it.”

Asked what she thought of the very special ceremony Mrs Holden said: “I thought it was wonderful and very overwhelming.

“It is an excellent school, and a very caring school.”