PUPILS and staff have said a fond farewell to a long-serving headteacher who retired last week.

Martin Braidley took up the top job at Woodhey High School in Ramsbottom 14 years ago and has worked in education for 37 years.

The school opened in 1979 and Mr Braidley is one of two headteachers who have led the school in that time, the other being Frank Bennett.

Mr Braidley, aged 59, said: “How time flies. It certainly does not seem 14 years since I first walked through the front door at Woodhey.

“I have really enjoyed my time here and have taken great pride in the development of the school.

“Woodhey has always been a superb school and it has been a real privilege to lead a school with such pleasant pupils, dedicated colleagues, supportive parents and knowledgeable governors.”

A keen water polo player, footballer and Rochdale FC fan, Mr Braidley graduated from Leeds University in 1976 and then got a masters degree and an advanced diploma in education. He became the assistant master at Hull Grammar School in 1977 and then second-in- department at Market Weighton School in 1979.

Four years on, he took up the role as head of department at Cramlington High School and earned the deputy headteacher’s post at Grange School in Oldham in 1988. Mr Braidley’s next job was as headteacher of Mossley Hollins High School in Tameside in 1994 and he joined the staff at Woodhey in 1999.

He added: “My wife Rowan retired on the same day and we plan to move to York to be nearer our son, Daniel and his family. Our daughter, Janna, had twin boys in April and lives in Rochester, Kent.

“We hope to spend more time with both our children.”

The school’s assistant headteacher Andrew King said: “Well over 3,000 pupils have passed through the school in Mr Braidley’s time as headteacher and all have found him to be a caring and attentive man who will always make time for others.”

A message in the school bulletin said: “Goodbye and good luck, Mr Braidley. We will miss you, but we will never forget you.”

Mr Braidley will be replaced by Brian Roadnight, who is joined by a new deputy headteacher Lisa Dobson.

Mr Braidley will have one of the school’s house groupings named after him in tribute.