30th November 2016

Miss Irene Atkin Celebrates Her 100th Birthday

A former headteacher at Haigh Road Infant School, Rothwell celebrated her 100th birthday on 29 November.

Miss Irene Atkin became headteacher at Haigh Road in 1952 bringing her particular expertise in teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, and retired 29 years later. After retiring Miss Atkin travelled extensively.

She was born on 29 November 1916 in Sheffield, and her family moved to Robin Hood when she was five. She attended Carlton School and Wakefield Girls’ High School, and trained as a teacher at Sheffield Teacher Training College.

At the beginning of the second world war Miss Atkin began her career in Askern near Doncaster. A year later she moved to Green Lane School in Armley where staff also supervised breakfast, lunch and tea after school because mothers were working long hours in the munitions factories. Teachers were then involved in fire watch duties in the evenings and overnight. Whilst at Green Lane Miss Atkin took part in the British Teacher Exchange Scheme and spent a year in Schenectady in New York State.

She now lives at Oulton Manor care home in Oulton where family, friends and former colleagues from across the country, the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Gerry Harper and the choir and band from Wakefield Girls’ High School joined her to celebrate her birthday. Squadron Leader David Dinmore MBE, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, presented a birthday card on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.

Stephanie Dyson, manager of Oulton Manor said: “Miss Atkin is highly regarded in the community. She was a very active and popular headteacher, and we're proud to be part of her life at this very special time."

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