Lowestoft school's praise for Skippy, 80

FROM fixing broken chairs to unblocking drains, Skippy Smith's job as a handy man is fundamental to the smooth running of a Lowestoft school.But as he balances on ladders carrying out repairs to roofs and putting up shelves, Skippy is perhaps unlike any other employee in his position.

FROM fixing broken chairs to unblocking drains, Skippy Smith's job as a handy man is fundamental to the smooth running of a Lowestoft school.

But as he balances on ladders carrying out repairs to roofs and putting up shelves, Skippy is perhaps unlike any other employee in his position.

This week he celebrated being an amazing 80 years young with the staff and pupils at Woods Loke Primary, who showered him with gifts during a special assembly, while performing two songs in ode to him.

And it was also revealed that Skippy's dedication to his job goes far beyond the call of duty in volunteering to create the props and scenery for many of the school's plays in his little shed outside.


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He said: 'Anything that comes up that I am capable of doing I try and do it,' he said. 'I have made a glass coffin for Cinderella, a coach and sleighs and a collapsing table for another play. It started because the old headmaster Terry Cant asked me to make something and it just went on from there. I just love doing it.'

As a former sheet metal worker, Skippy was retired until he was given an offer he couldn't refuse at the school in Butley Drive.

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He now has staff queuing up with odd jobs, wracking up around six hours a week.

He said: explained: 'I think it just keeps my brain active. I just find it satisfying to please people and they are so grateful for what you do.'

Staff held a tea part for Skippy on Tuesday with current headteacher Mark Prentice and previous head Mr Cant attending, who officially appointed him 11 years ago.

Afterwards he was led into a school assembly, where he received a birthday card from each class, two bird boxes, gift vouchers and a cake.

Skippy's 80th birthday is not the only celebration he's enjoyed this week. Today he celebrated 55 years of wedded bliss with his wife Iris … their emerald wedding anniversary.

He said he wouldn't be going into work, although added that there was a door that needed mending.

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