CARETAKER Arthur Davies locked the school gates behind him for the last time after chalking up 27 years at a Westhoughton primary school.

Mr Davies retired from Sacred Heart RC Primary School on his 65th birthday, and to show how missed he will be staff and pupils lined the corridors, hall and driveway to school and he received huge applause as he finished his last morning shift.

The married father of two and grandfather of three said: “I won’t miss the 5.15am starts, it has been quite nice sleeping in.

“But I will miss the people, I have made a lot of friends. It is like a family unit, a nice place to work.

“This was my favourite job. It was different every day.”

Since starting at the school, where his wife Dorothy worked as a dinner time supervisor before she retired, he has seen the school double in size from just seven classrooms and two cloakrooms, with extra facilities and resources.

But Mr Davies will still keep close links with the school through his grandson Joshua, aged four, who is a pupil there.

Headteacher Martin Johnson said: “Arthur has been a trustworthy, dedicated, calm, reliable, patient, resilient and hard-working member of our team who has seen many phases of re-development, culminating in the rebuild of our school.”