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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 March, 2005, 15:16 GMT
Ex-pupil, 100, at school reunion
Serviah James
Serviah James was one of the first pupils at Garnant School
A 100-year-old former pupil of an Amman Valley school joined a reunion of staff and students held just weeks before it closes its doors for good.

Serviah James was one of the first pupils to enrol at Garnant County Primary School when it opened in 1915.

It closes at Easter when pupils will move to the new Ysgol y Bedol school that will also replace Ysgol Y Twyn and Glanamman CP schools.

Those attending the event said it was a day full of mixed emotions.

I was first here as a pupil and must have enjoyed it as otherwise I would not have returned as teacher
Olwen Richards

Mrs James, along with fellow former pupil David James, aged 99, arrived for Saturday's farewell in a Rolls Royce.

Her daughter, Doris James, herself a former head teacher at Glanamman, said: "When the school first opened she was one of the first pupils.

"She was telling me that she still remembers coming here and still remembers the name of her first teacher - Miss Price.

"I am one of five children and we all came to Garnant School. We all have many happy memories of being here."

Former staff including Olwen Richards, who retired as deputy head in 1982, were presented with special plates to mark the 90th anniversary of the school in its final year.

Garnant staff
Former staff were presented with plates to make the day

Mrs Richards, who wrote the history of the school on its 75th anniversary, said: "I was first here as a pupil and must have enjoyed it as otherwise I would not have returned as teacher.

"At the time I was here (as a pupil), then children would stay until they were 14. For some it was the only school they went to."

She said another big change was that in the early years most of the children would have come from mining families but now all the pits in the area had closed.

School governor and local councillor Kevin Madge said he would be sad to see the school close as his father and his children had attended.

"My father came here in the 1930s and to show how things have changed he was caned for bringing a spider into the school," he said.

But Mr Madge said parents realised the condition of the building was passed its best and were looking forward to the opening of the new facilities at the 5.5m Ysgol y Bedol in Glanamman next term.

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