A headteacher paid tribute to the contribution made by two long-serving members of staff who are leaving this Christmas.

David Birks and Roy Burgin are both stepping down from their posts at South Craven School, Cross Hills.

Mr Birks began working at the school in 1972 and Mr Burgin joined the following year.

Headteacher Dr Andrew Cummings said: “The debt owed by thousands of students and hundreds of staff to these two people is enormous. I have learned a great deal from working with them.

“I know they will both want to see the school continuing to thrive, and will be keeping a close eye on what we are up to.”

Mr Birks began his South Craven career as a probationary teacher. He later served as a classroom teacher, head of department, deputy head and acting head. His main subject was geography and he also set up an after-school table tennis club.

He managed South Craven’s first XI cricket team for 14 years, and when he retired from teaching in 2006 he took on the role of budget manager.

He said: “I have been very fortunate to have had a career in such a marvellous school and to live in a great area to bring up a family.”

His fellow stalwart, Mr Burgin, first came to the school as a social studies and community services teacher.

As well as teaching sociology, history and geography, he was in charge of organising help for pensioners in the area.

After serving as head of social studies he went on to take charge of curriculum development, before joining the school’s management team.

His success in securing European funding paid for many new facilities at South Craven and he spent 14 years as head of the sixth form.

A South Craven School spokesman said: “Since retiring from teaching four years ago, Roy has been project manager for the school and has worked with David to ensure that the monies raised were spent in the right way.

“Roy has been a larger-than-life character, his booming laugh reaching all the way down the corridors. In retirement he will have more time to spend on his art. He clearly has a talent for drawing and painting and has had some of his paintings exhibited locally and in London.”