ONE of Cumbria’s longest-serving head teachers, whose aim was to ‘bring happiness to the classroom’, will retire at the end of this term.

Colin Milner has been head of Grange CE Primary School for 22 years and will tomorrow lead his final Christmas assembly.

His wife Dorothy — who has taught Year 2 pupils at the school for 20 years — will retire at the same time, marking the ‘end of a fabulous era’ for the primary according to chair of governers Judith Mitchell.

“Mr Milner has been a wonderful head teacher for the school and he really has the children at the heart of everything and we have got many past pupils coming to celebrate with him at his leaving party,” she said.

“He has been innovative and helped enlarge the school too. Both Mr Milner and Dorothy will be sorely missed.”

Mr Milner arrived at the school in 1989 and his achievements have included building two new classrooms, a library and nursery and more recently taking 21 Year 6 pupils on a trip to Japan.

But he said the school’s annual residential trips to Ridley Hall in Northumberland held some of his favourite memories.

“My past pupils all seem to remember that experience with reverence and happiness,” said Mr Milner, 62. “The happiness of children comes first and that is at the heart of running a successful primary school.”

After completing his training at the former Charlotte Mason College at Ambleside, Oxford-raised Mr Milner began his teaching career at a school in Keswick before moving on to Holme Primary School.

He joined Patterdale Prim-ary School as head teacher in 1985 and those five years combined with his current 22 years at Grange make him the longest serving head in Carlisle’s diocese.

“I’m almost certain that I’m the longest-serving head teacher in the diocese — there can’t be many of us over 20 years and when you add it all together I’ve done 27.”

Mr and Mrs Milner hope to spend their retirement enj-oying more time with their grandchildren, who live in Nottinghamshire and Buckinghamshire, and pursuing their hobbies of photography and patchwork craft.