A SENIOR teacher considered a legend by staff and pupils past and present is to retire after dedicating his life to one of the fastest improving schools in the region.

Assistant headteacher Dave Tucker hangs up his achievement and pastoral care duties at the end of term as Darlington School of Mathematics and Science celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Mr Tucker, of Hurworth, joined in 1984, 20 years after the school opened as the 1,300-pupil Branksome Comprehensive School.

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Born in Glasgow, he moved to the region as a child when his father was appointed farm manager at Arncliffe Estate, near Stokesley.

He secured a scholarship at Yarm Grammar School and worked as a pigman eventually being promoted to manager of one of the largest herds in the country.

“But I always wanted to be a teacher,” he recalled. “I went to Northumberland College in Ponteland and worked at Longfield, Central and Eastbourne schools in Darlington, as well as Sedgefield.”

Joining the staff at Branksome, which became DSMS in 2011, he has worked under five headteachers.

He said: “I have always felt part of the school and the decision-making process.

“The school is really going places, anyone can see and the staff are excellent as they really care about the students.

“I am going to really miss it. It has been part of my life for the past 30 years and I will miss the staff, the parents and the students.”

Headteacher Calvin Kipling said: “Mention Mr Tucker’s name in any company and the reply you hear the most is ‘legend’.

“He remains as passionate about the school and its pupils today as he was decades ago when he started and his unbridled enthusiasm is an inspiration to us all.”

Mr Tucker will celebrate the school’s golden milestone on July 17 when DSMS will stage a celebratory event for current and past staff and pupils.

The event will also mark the official opening of the new state of the art sports hall - an honour Mr Tucker has been nominated to perform.

The £700,000 sports hall has been built using the latest green technology and uses a special fabric stretched over a steel frame that allows natural light to enter the building without the need for lights.

The event starts at 2.30pm and finishes at 4pm. For more information contact the school on 01325-351377 or visit dsms.org