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VIDEO: School panto head Phil Harrison bows out

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IT was a fairytale ending for headteacher Phil Harrison when he retired after the school panto - oh yes he did, writes Graham Walker.

VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our exclusive video report, including a chat with Phil and panto highlights.

The 58-year-old has staged annual school fundraising pantomimes every Christmas for the past 18 years.

Before that he organised a couple of Christmas shows.

Four performances of this year’s panto, his own musical version of Pirates Of The Caribbean, brought the curtain down on his 23 years in charge.

Now it really is all behind him, at St Helens RC J&I School on West Street, Hoyland, Barnsley.

Other productions over the years have included Oakwelloma – a send up of Oaklahoma – Joseph and traditional pantos, including Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

He affectionately blames deputy head and panto co-writer Peter Griffiths for all the cheesy jokes.

But the biggest laugh has been the relatively unchanging format, which has helped to delight pupils and parents for almost two decades.

He told The Star: “The panto is a special time in school anyway because it involves every child and all the staff. It brings the community together.

“But this year’s panto was even more special. It was my last one, because I’m leaving.”

Originally from Lytham St Annes, Phil and wife Lynn, who have a grown-up daughter, Stacey, are moving back to the Blackpool area, to a village called Thornton.

He said: “I’ll take a lot of happy memories with me. The only day I didn’t look forward to was my last. I still know every child by name.

“Results aren’t everything but they’ve been wonderful here. Every Ofsted report has been good or outstanding.

“The staff are great and new headteacher, Lynda Hoyle, takes over from me here in January. It’s wonderful knowing the school is in safe hands.”

* Are you a former pupil? What memories do you have of headmaster Mr Harrison? Send him a retirement message - leave a comment below.

 

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