Retirement beckons for diligent pair

PUBLISHED: 07:27 29 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 22 October 2010

She has seen a generation of children come and go while keeping the classrooms free of mice.

She has seen a generation of children come and go while keeping the classrooms free of mice.

But after 17 years as the school pet, Silver the cat is about to start a well-earned retirement,

The elderly tabby will spend the rest of her days with teacher Dave Cundey, 58, head of technology at Archbishop Sancroft High School, in Harleston, who is also set for retirement - after 36 years at the chalkface.

The duo are already firm friends, as Mr Cundey looks after Silver who has her own basket and toys in his classroom.

He said: "Silver first came here as a kitten, when we used to have mobile classrooms on the field, and adopted the school and a variety of staff and kids. She now sleeps in the technology and design workroom where I work and sometimes sits on the benches and the kids pet her.

"My wife Christine and I are daft about cats. We live in Harleston, and Silver has been staying with us at weekends to practice her retirement."

His wife works at the local veterinary surgery, where the cat receives regular medical treatment, and has also decided to retire.

Mr Cundey has spent his entire professional career at the school and is especially proud of its outstanding record in organising foreign trips for students to further their education, and widen their horizons.

Head teacher Steve Carter said: "Dave has been a wonderful servant of the school these past 36 years. His administrative competence and leadership qualities have been recognised

in his being at times acting

deputy head teacher, and he

retires with the title of senior teacher.

"It is unusual these days to find a teacher who has given his entire career to one school. You might say that is exceptional, but Mr Cundey is exceptional and I thank him most sincerely on behalf of students past and present, governors and staff."

Mr Carter said his abiding memory of Silver was shortly after arriving as head in 1998, when he was supervising a lesson in one of the old mobiles.

The class was working in silence and he suddenly became aware of a slight movement, and noticed the cat sitting contentedly asleep on top of some text books.

A student later needed to use one of the books, and quietly slid one out with such care that Silver stirred only slightly, re-settled and went back to sleep.

He added: "I wish to confer on Silver the title of Honorary Head Cat for the school for many years. She has kept the school free from mice and other vermin during this time and has an unblemished professional record."

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