FIFTY years of a Carlisle primary school were celebrated this week when former staff, pupils, parents and governors returned to reminisce.

The event - to mark the school’s opening in 1969 - was held at Belle Vue Primary School on Beaver Road and saw hundreds of people passing through its doors.

The school planted five cherry blossom trees on Wednesday afternoon and every pupil was given a bulb to plant.

Current pupils handed out pizza, buns and snacks while the school choir entertained guests.

At the event, the school was adorned with old photographs and displays through the eras - including a pop art one from the 1980s.

Carol Walker, a former teaching assistant, was looking at old staff photographs with former teacher Barbara Armstrong.

Carol said: “I was a teaching assistant for 21 years. I really enjoyed it and I miss the children.

“I still bump into some of the children now which is nice.”

Barbara said: “I haven’t been back since I left. It has changed.”

Catherine McMillan joined the school as a teacher in 1982.

She said: “It was a wonderful place to work. We were like a big family. It was a very friendly place. Pupils still come up to me now and ask if I remember them which is nice.

“Eddie Leteve was deputy head when I worked at Belle Vue and he was very inspiring.”

Maureen Wood, 79, of Belle Vue, worked at the school as a mid day supervisor.

She said: “I was here for about 10 years but I left because I needed to make more money.

“I loved working at Belle Vue School.”

Dorothy Bowman returned to the school and said it was “lovely” to be back.

She said: “I used to help children with special needs with their reading.

“I worked here at Belle Vue and at Yewdale School each week. I joined in 1979 and left in 1988.”

Former headteacher Eddie Leteve said: “I thoroughly enjoyed working at Belle Vue.

“I was deputy head for 11 years then headteacher for another 11 years. I left in 1994.

“The job of a teacher has changed so much in that time. Teachers today are under greater pressure. When I was here things were much freer. It was a lovely time to be in schools.

“We were like a little family.

“It is nice to come back. The hall has changed. The windows used to go down to the floor. It’s little things like that that you notice.”

Teacher Kate Allan taught at the school for about 25 years.

She said: “I taught at both the infants and the juniors. The buildings have changed. The junior part of the building used to be separate.

Shelley Brooks, an early years teacher at the school, said: “We had a drone go up and take a 50 years photograph of the whole school which was nice.

“Some of the pupils interviewed former headteachers and each year group worked on a different decade.

“The Friends of Belle Vue School gave every child a key ring with 1969 to 2019 on it which was a lovely gesture.

“We really have had a lovely time celebrating this special occasion.”

Andy Cairns, the current headteacher, is also former pupil at the school.

He said: “We’ve had a brilliant celebration event.

“ It’s great to acknowledge the 50 years.”

Mr Cairns was a pupil at the school in 1983. He returned as a teacher in 2003 and became headteacher in 2016, after a stint at Kingmoor in Lowry Hill.

A special cake was also made with 50 on top by one of the parents which had pride of place in the hall.

The infant and junior school used to be run as separate entities but joined together to become one school in 2008.