A PAIR of popular teachers who have a 'whole lot of history' are retiring after clocking up 83 years of service.

Depute head Michelle Liddell and principal teacher of guidance Mairi McCluskey, who both taught the subject, said farewell to pupils and staff.

Both have spent their entire careers in Inverclyde and the majority of that time at Notre Dame.

They worked in four different buildings and under five head teachers in their long careers.

Michelle taught for 43 years, 34 of them at Notre Dame and nine at St Columba's High in Gourock, her former school, beforehand.

She came to Notre Dame as a guidance teacher and was promoted before becoming a depute head in the late 1990s.

Michelle said: "It's been a really fulfilling career.

"I've been so lucky to work with inspirational staff and also the pupils and parents.

"They have always been very supportive of me.

"I could not have done my job without that support.

"The pupils are second to none."

She said she is leaving with a heavy heart but is looking forward to her new role as a doting grandmother.

Michelle lives in Greenock and is married to Iain, a former principal teacher of history at Wellington Academy and Inverclyde Academy.

Their daughter Katie, who teaches at St Michael's Primary in Port Glasgow, is expecting her first child.

Michelle said: "I am very sad to be leaving.

"I just love the pupils and staff in Notre Dame - 43 years is a way of life.

"My daughter is going to have a baby in August and I am very excited about being a grandmother and looking forward to helping with the baby."

Colleague and friend Mairi, 60, was the longest serving teaching staff member with 37 years under her belt and prior to that she also taught at St Columba's in Gourock.

She became a guidance teacher in the late 90s.

Mairi said: "It's been great, I've really enjoyed it.

"I've been lucky to work in the history department with wonderful staff.

"We have always supported each other through the good times and bad, and that is the same with the guidance staff.

"I will miss my colleagues but I'll miss the boys and girls most. I just hope have helped them, I feel quite emotional about it."

Both women have been overwhelmed by the lovely comments, best wishes and gifts they have received from pupils, parents and former pupils.

They were also touched by a lunchtime concert organised by the music department's Gerard Gordon with some performers from the school show Les Miserables.

Michelle said: "Gerard cleverly re-wrote the words of the song One Day More.

"We went on the tannoy and Mairi said 'tomorrow we will be far away' and I sang the last line.

"We were all crying - it was very emotional."

The teachers were also taking part in a staff panto on their final day and celebrated their retirement with a joint party at the Tontine Hotel with 150 guests.

The pals have planned a trip to Liverpool with a group of friends to mark their retirement.

Mairi lives in Skelmorlie with her husband Laurence, a development manager with Cunninghame Housing Association, and they have a daughter Leah who has just graduated with a history and politics degree.

She said: "I am looking forward to travelling and not having 10,000 things going in my head and listening to bells."

Head teacher Kate Couttie says the duo will be a hard act to follow.

She said: "The school is very sorry to lose these highly valued members of staff, who have fantastic relationships with people in the community of Greenock.

"They will be very hard to replace. They will be a big loss to the school."