Final countdown for caretaker Mick after 31 years at a Cleckheaton school

The caretaker of a school in Cleckheaton has retired after 31 years in the job.

By Tom Scargill
Friday, 8th July 2022, 4:00 pm

Mick Gibson has left his role at Heaton Avenue Primary School after more than three decades.

Mick, 66, who lives in Heckmondwike, has been married to wife Gill for 45 years and has one son, Adam.

The school was known as West End Middle School when Mick started, but was called South Parade Secondary School when he attended it as a child.

Caretaker Mick Gibson with pupils at Heaton Avenue Primary School

“The three-storey building wasn’t there when I started as caretaker,” he said.

“Before it was just pre-fabs. It’s changed a lot. I’ve seen it go from 190 kids to 500 kids.

“Every day is different - one minute you can be repairing lockers, the next minute you can be chasing pigeons round the building!

“A lot of the pupils from when I started, they’ve now grown up and have their own children at the school.

“Time’s just flown, I don’t know where it’s gone.

“Thirty-one years just seems a heck of a time, because I don’t feel as old as I am.

"But my years are up now, I’ve done my time and I feel it’s time to go.

“It’s been a big, massive part of my life so I’m bound to miss it, but it’ll be nice to have some time for myself now, and come off that time clock.

“But I’m proud, not many stay in a job that long.”

Head of the school, Jo Jenkinson, said: “A wonderful ‘final countdown’ for Mick was enjoyed by all.

"We started the day with a special breakfast for Mick where Heaton Avenue staff old and present as well as SPIE managers attended.

“Following this, Mr Gibson came to our whole school assembly where the pupils sang and danced for him and his gifts and cards were presented.

“The assembly was very emotional and it concluded with Mr Gibson’s favourite song being played, ‘The Final Countdown’, while the children all gave him an individual farewell on their way out.”