A POPULAR caretaker has retired from a Worle school after 18 years and is now preparing to set off on his narrow boat.

Alan Owens, who is finishing up his work over the summer at Mendip Green First School, received a grand send-off from pupils.

They presented him with dozens of gifts at a picnic in the grounds of the Greenwood Road site, as well as hand-painted narrow boat decorations and plant pots from each year group.

Alan, aged 67, recently bought narrow boat Storm Petrel with his 59-year-old wife Denise and the Hewish couple hope to set off down the UK’s canals on it in a couple of years.

Alan, who was a builder before he joined the Worle school 18 years ago, said: “We need to wait for Denise to retire first, but this will give me the opportunity to play around with the boat first.

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“I’ve loved spending time with the children and their parents during my time at the school, watching the youngsters grow up.”

A group of parents also planned to take Alan and Denise for a meal last week to mark his retirement.

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