CHILDREN, teachers and friends came together to say farewell to a woman who has been the face of a school for more than 30 years.

Addington School held a celebratory tea party for Barbi Takyar on October 17 to mark her retirement, following decades of tireless fundraising.

An assembly attended by hundreds of children and young people with additional needs followed the unveiling of a new minibus for the school, which has affectionately been called ‘Barbi’s Bus’ in honour of the 75-year-old.

Gina Murdoch-Stone has known Barbi since they started working together, having joined the school on the same day in the reception.

She said: “She just has such a generous and giving personality. There will never be anyone else like Barbi at the school.”

As well as working in various roles at Addington, she has become well-known for her fundraising efforts at the school.

In her time, she has facilitated the acquisition of 10 minibuses for the school and Mencap, organising raffles, tombolas and fairs.

She also works closely with local groups, including Woodley & Earley Lions Club, to be able to unlock funding for projects.

Gina added: “Everybody knows Barbi. She is just the go-to person for everything you want to know.

“I think her proudest achievement was when she was awarded an MBE and met Prince Charles.

“I am certain she will continue to be busy even in her retirement, because she will keep an eye on the elderly people she cares for.”

Children and staff used bunting to write personalised messages of support for Barbi.

Some of the older children were heavily involved in the preparation of her leaving party, as they worked hard to prepare cakes.

Others performed a song for her entertainment, before she made her way down to the common room.

Gina said: “She will certainly be missed. She worked with us for many years and dedicated herself to the school.

“There aren’t many people in the world like Barbi. Until recently, she even did handmade Christmas cards for all of the staff.”

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