WHEN the school bell rang at Kingsland Primary School last Friday, it marked the end of an era for a school secretary.

It was some 21 years ago that Mary walked through the doors of the Peebles primary school and became the much-loved Mrs MacIntyre who helped keep the busy school running like clockwork.

She wiped away tears of children after bumps and scrapes, kept many parents from losing their marbles with constant reminders of school events, and teachers didn’t have to worry about running low on school supplies – Mary had it all in hand.

Her journey began at the old Kingsland School building on Rosetta Road from where she has fond memories. “I remember leaving the empty office and walking with the whole school to the new Kingsland Primary where we have been for the last nine years. That gave me a lump in my throat, looking back along the line of children, staff and friends, all making our way to the new school.”

The new school sits proudly on top of the hill adjacent to Neidpath Road where Mary has been the friendly face that has greeted visitors to the school for nearly a decade.

When asked what she loved about the job, Mary said it had been both “rewarding and diverse”. She added: “No two days are the same. I often asked ‘how many plates can you spin at one time?’ We deal with first aid on a daily basis and can have three or four children in at one time so it looks more like an emergency ward than an office.”

Although Mary was kept busy with her daily administration and reception duties, she always found time for the pupils. “Children would come into the office to show us their work, or perhaps a trophy they had won at an out of school event,” she said.

A special assembly was held at the school last week where the children presented Mary with a Kindle and a new bicycle. “I will miss all the children, parents and colleagues, as the school has been a big part of my life for a long time.”

Headteacher Jacqueline Wilson told the Peeblesshire News: “We are sorry that Mrs MacIntyre is leaving us but we are happy for her as she has some exciting plans.

“Mrs MacIntyre is well known and appreciated by our children and their families because she has always been the calm helpful face of the school and for that we say thank you very much.”

Mary is looking forward to spending quality time with husband Neil who has also just retired. She plans to spend her days golfing, dancing, travelling, gardening, helping Neil at his allotment, and of course cycling.

But you won’t find her ripping down the trails at Glentress, she told us: “I’ll be sticking to the streets and cycle paths around Peebles.”

School’s not quite out for summer, but it is for Mary who cycled off on her shiny new wheels ready for the next chapter in her life. And the only bell she’ll hear ringing these days, is the one on her bicycle.