A POPULAR Inverclyde head teacher enjoyed a resounding retiral send-off by her pupils.

Joan McGill, of Gourock Primary, is a big Cliff Richard fan so the pupils sang 'Congratulations' to her at a special retiral concert.

Joan said: "They sang Cliff songs from throughout my life including 'Living Doll' and 'The Young Ones' and I just loved it." Born and brought up in Greenock, Joan has lived and worked in Inverclyde all of her life.

She was head teacher at Gourock for 15 years, including a spell in the old school in Binnie Street, and has been teaching for 40 years.

She taught at Boglestone and Ravenscraig and was head teacher at Springfield before going to Gourock.

Joan said: "My mum told me when I came home from my first day at school as a pupil that I told her I wanted to be a teacher.

"I've been very lucky that I was able to realise my dream.

"I must thank Inverclyde for nurturing me as a pupil, student, trainee teacher, teacher and ultimately as a head teacher.

"I have met so many wonderful children, teachers, parents and colleagues who have been very supportive.

"You can take the person out of the school, but you can never take the school out of the person." Joan and her husband Robert have a daughter, Jennifer.

Joan said: "I'm looking forward to spending more time in my garden.

"I also enjoy holidays in Italy and Tenerife - and I'll have more time to go to even more Cliff Richard concerts." School depute head teacher, Moira McKay, paid tribute to Joan.

She said: "Joan will be missed by all the staff, parents and pupils at Gourock Primary." Moira presented a gift from the staff and Lesley Smith, chair of the parent council, handed over a cheque from parents and pupils.

A church service was held on the last day of term today in Old Gourock and Ashton Church, when P7 children read their memories of Mrs McGill to the pupils and parents before her final prizegiving.