PICTURE GALLERY: Proud Joan, 91, opens new classroom at Great Dunham Primary School, near Swaffham

She has lived in the village all her 91 years and was a proud pupil at the local school – and her mother was a teacher there almost 110 years ago.

And Joan Smith proved the real star of the day as she officially opened a new classroom at Great Dunham Primary School, near Swaffham.

The amazingly sprightly special guest captivated the young pupils as she recalled what life was like at the Victorian school during her time there from the age of 10-14 in the 1930s.

'I enjoyed every minute of my time here,' said Mrs Smith, who has lived in the same house in North Street all her life.

Her mother, Laura Whales, taught at the school from 1902 and so as to avoid favouritism in her early years, Mrs Smith started her education at Fransham and Lexham schools before going to Dunham.

'I am so happy to be here today and thrilled to be opening such a wonderful building as this. It is fantastic and it so different from when I was here.'

She remembered how on cold days it paid to sit at the front of the class.

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'There was an open fire place and a big coal fire and was very good for those in the front row but at the back there was condensation running down the walls!'

Mrs Smith also said boys and girls had separate playgrounds and the highlight of the week was games on a Friday afternoon.

One less pleasant memory was the dreaded old dentist's van which used to turn up twice a year to check the children's teeth.

'School was more basic than you have now,' she told the children and other guests. 'But it was really something I was proud to be part of.'

Headteacher Sally Bone said they had been looking for a guest to open the new classroom and Mrs Smith was 'the absolutely ideal person.'

She added: 'One of the children asked if the teachers were the same as when Mrs Smith was here at the school!'

The new timber-framed eco classroom will be used by 20 reception and year one children and Mrs Bone said: 'It is providing a really good learning environment for the children and has also meant a wider benefit for the whole school.'

Amelia Hill, five, said: 'It is really good and much bigger than our old classroom.'

The long-lasting eco-classroom has been made by Norwich based company Eco-classrooms and feature recycled paper insulation.

'The environmental, constructional and sustainable advantages are enormous,' said development manager Robert Hook.

He said: 'Our eco-classrooms are made in the UK from renewably sourced timber to the highest specifications. The classrooms utilise air source heat pumps to heat and cool the structure and these pumps heat and cool and are over 300% efficient.'