She has seen the transition from chalk and blackboards to interactive white boards, five headteachers and thousands of pupils.

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And now a Norwich teaching assistant – and the children she works with – is celebrating after spending 35 years doing the job she loves.

Grandmother Maureen Brock joined Mile Cross Primary school in 1978.

Mrs Brock started working at the former Norman First and Nursery School in Brasier Road, when her sons, Steve and Neil, joined.

“I used to help out at the school with things like costumes for performances and then the headteacher asked me if I wanted a job. I thought I would try it and I loved it,” she said.

Mrs Brock, who lives with her husband, Brian, 65, a retired administrator, in Coppice Avenue, Hellesdon, is currently working with pupils in year 3.

In 2009 Mrs Brock started to find eating painful and after four months she went to the doctor who diagnosed her with cancer of the oesophagus.

Her treatment caused her to miss almost a year of school.

“I love the build-up to Christmas – I love the cards and the look on the children’s little faces. I was stuck at home and feeling a bit down and my doorbell rang.”

The school caretaker, Mr Rudd, took her hand and led her outside where the school choir sang for her.

“I couldn’t come to them so they came to me,” she said.

Struggling to spend time away from the children, Mrs Brock filled her time wrapping Christmas presents for the pupils.

“I couldn’t have got through everything without the support of the staff.

“I was supposed to have 18 months off but I went back after less than a year. I just love the job.”

Two people who she taught now work at the school and she teaches countless of her former pupils’ children.

And despite being one of the longest serving members of staff in the school’s history, Mrs Brock said she has no plans to retire.

“At the end of the day I want the children to feel like they have achieved something – that means a lot. It’s nice to feel that I have made a difference,” she said. “I never thought I would last this long. It’s a really good school – I have never wanted to work at another school.”

When she is not at work, she spends time with her granddaughters, Lucy, 10 and Holly, five, who live in Horsford.

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