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Last bell rings at village school

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By Fiona Reid
Last bell rings at village school

A COUNTRY primary school has been mothballed after 122 years.

The bell will no longer ring and the playground will be empty at Hottsbridge Primary in Waterbeck due to falling numbers.

And from August, the remaining six pupils will transfer to Eaglesfield.

An end of an era afternoon took place last Friday to mark the occasion and allow pupils, families and staff, past and present, as well as villagers, to say their goodbyes.

Dozens of people packed into the classrooms to share their memories, look at old photos and registers and catch up with former classmates.

Presentations were also made to the children and teachers, including memory bears made from the school uniforms.

As the last bell rang to mark the end of the day, those present gave the children a guard of honour, clapping them out of school.

FIRST CLASS . . . it’s believed this is the first Hottsbridge pupils, pictured in about 1902, with their teachers

Parent council chairwoman Jo Jefferson Smith said: “It was a bittersweet day as we were delighted to see so many people turn out to celebrate Hottsbridge, but gutted that it was the last day.

“There’s just nine pupils at the moment, going down to six after the holidays, so we made the difficult decision to mothball it, as many others locally have done.

“It’s been part of the community since 1902, and there was a school in Waterbeck for several decades before that. Some local families have seen several generations educated here – so it really is the end of an era.”

TRIP TIME . . . a class outing in the early 1960s

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