A special needs teacher described as “a friend to everyone” has retired after 37 years of loyal service to her school.

Pam Johnson, 59, said goodbye to staff and students at Dysart School, in Ewell Road, Surbiton, during the last day of term on Wednesday, July 23.

The departing head of upper school first joined Dysart in 1977, when the school was still based in Ham.

Last week, Mrs Johnson was honoured at an afternoon tea party held at the school, where staff past and present – including the first teacher she ever worked with – joined her to say farewell.

Dysart deputy headteacher Alex Augustus said: “Pam has been an absolute cornerstone of this school for so many years.

“I think the school has been able to maintain its outstanding standards because of Pam and her experience.

“She’s extremely diligent and incredibly well respected by all staff members.

“Before I made my speech at her leaving party I asked staff to describe Pam and what she meant to them.

“The thing that kept coming back was that she was a friend to everyone.

“She will be a huge loss to Dysart and will be missed by everyone here.”

Mrs Johnson plans to spend her retirement caravanning in the Isle of Wight and tending to her garden.