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One of Norfolk's biggest primary schools celebrates 40 years since opening

PUBLISHED: 14:41 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:41 04 November 2019

The school is celebrating its 40th academic year since opening. Picture: Hillcrest Primary School

The school is celebrating its 40th academic year since opening. Picture: Hillcrest Primary School

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A west Norfolk primary school marked its 40th birthday celebration with an event bringing together three of the school's headteachers.

Headteachers Betty Lunn (left) Matthew Try and Linda Howling (right) outside Hillcrest Primary School in Downham Market. Picture: Hillcrest Primary SchoolHeadteachers Betty Lunn (left) Matthew Try and Linda Howling (right) outside Hillcrest Primary School in Downham Market. Picture: Hillcrest Primary School

Former headteachers and pupils visited Hillcrest Primary School to celebrate its 40th birthday and to mark the opening of a £4.5m new school extension.

The school in Downham Market, formerly Hillcrest First and Middle School, has undergone significant changes in the last year.

Work at the school began in February 2018 to build a two-storey, nine-classroom block for years 4, 5 and 6 pupils and to re-develop the existing school building to provide an additional Reception classroom, refurbished school hall, library and new and refurbished toilet blocks.

Staff and pupils past and present attended an event at the school to mark the 40th academic year it has been open and to also to show off its new facilities that pupils have finally moved into.

Headteacher Matthew Try (right) with pupils at Hillcrest Primary School. Picture: Hillcrest Primary SchoolHeadteacher Matthew Try (right) with pupils at Hillcrest Primary School. Picture: Hillcrest Primary School

The two previous heads of Hillcrest, Betty Lunn and Linda Howling, joined staff and pupils in the celebration.

Miss Lunn was the first headteacher of the school and welcomed its first 94 pupils on January, 8, 1980.

She retirement in 1999 and former headteacher Linda Howling took over.

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The new £4.5m project, funded by Norfolk County Council (NCC), makes the school one of the region's biggest primaries.

The project was a result of plans to meet the anticipated growth in pupil numbers across Downham Market in the coming years and to replace outdated mobile units.

MORE: Pupils move into £4.5m extension.

Current headteacher Mr Try, who took over the school in January 2016, thanked the council for its significant investment in the school.

Mr Try said: "It is highly unusual for a school that has been open for 40 years to have just three headteachers. It is a sign of the strength of the staff and the warm and welcoming place that it is to work in every day that keeps both headteachers and teachers in post, with a significant proportion of the teaching staff having remained at Hillcrest for many years."

Those that attended the event were taken on a tour of the new facilities before children, staff and guests gathered on the school field to form the number 40.

Hillcrest Primary School will celebrate its 40th again on Wednesday, January, 8 to mark the exact date Hillcrest opened, with a 1980s themed disco and other eighties related-activities.

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