A PRIMARY school held an afternoon of fun yesterday to say goodbye to the nun who has been headteacher for 12 years.

Tomorrow, Sister Joan Conroy will say an emotional farewell to St Augustine's Primary School, Darlington, as she returns to the London convent she joined in 1953. Originally from Ferryhill, County Durham, Sister Joan, 64, joined the Community of the Sisters of Charity in Mill Hill, London, before studying in Manchester.

She taught at schools around the country, including a spell as an infant teacher at the former St Augustine's School, in Larchfield Street, Darlington. In 1988, she returned to St Augustine's, now in Beechwood Avenue, as headteacher.

"The first thing I noticed coming back was seeing the new school on this lovely greenfield site," she said.

"The old school had been surrounded by buildings, with tiny playgrounds where the children could only stand and talk to each other because there was no room to play."

She has many happy memories of the past 12 years. One of those she looks back on most fondly is helping a girl with Down's syndrome to succeed in mainstream education.

Sister Joan will continue community work after returning to Mill Hill.

She said: "I've got lots of happy memories here, made lots of friends and feel very much at home here. I will not miss the paperwork, or the hassle that goes with it, but I will miss the children and the friendship and the parents."