Dave Mathers was on the first rung of the ladder when he started out as a new teacher at the secondary School in Ashton, Preston.
Little did he know then that he would spend all his working career at the Aldwych Drive school – and end up as a head of department then deputy headteacher.
Dave took early retirement in the summer after 36 years at what is now Ashton Community Science College, just as his wife Sue was retiring from Walton-le-Dale High.
He has nothing but fond memories and says every day was a joy – although lots of holidays and rounds of golf now top his timetable.
Dave says: “I was appointed as a PE teacher originally, pre-computers, pre-emails and the chalk board.
“Things changed gradually but all that seems a lifetime ago.
“The ironic thing is that there have been a lot of changes in education, but a lot of the things have come back again.
“Numerical GCSEs for instance and terminal exams are back.
“There has been a myriad of changes to the curriculum.
“I have served four headteachers, Harry Eccles, Graham Hewitson, Chris Lickiss and Sharon Asquith, who really have been of the highest calibre.
“The school has been knocked down and rebuilt.
“We then took over the running of Ribbleton High and opened a sixth form.
“Ashton High is an 11-16 comprehensive and while the name has changed over the years the core values and what the school stands for haven’t.
“It is a school where the staff stay because they like it.
“It is a wonderful family of staff, parents and students, a wonderful place to teach and the last five or six years have been my happiest times.”
Originally from Blackpool the father of two says the highlights are too numerous.
But topping the list has to be his invite to a royal garden party as a reward for his services to the Ashton He says: “I was nominated and that was quite a shock - and a proud moment.”
At the event he saw The Queen and Prince Phillip, standing just feet away.
Dave says: “I enjoyed going to school every day. It is a job but if you can enjoy your job it’s a huge thing.
“ I always wanted to be a teacher and have worked with such wonderful people.
“The staff are incredible on all levels.”