DR IAIN Melvin was bidding an emotional farewell to the Thomas Hardye School today after more than 20 years at the helm.

The headteacher, who joined Hardye’s Boys School in September 1988, admitted he would find it hard to leave it all behind and will particularly miss the students.

Dr Melvin said: “I will miss an awful lot of people, especially the youngsters because their energy and passion keeps you optimistic and keeps you young. The only problem with teaching is you get older and they are still the same age.”

Dr Melvin added that he would also miss the people he had worked alongside.

He said: “Some of my colleagues have been with me for the whole period and there are a lot of people who aren’t teachers – the caretaking staff, people who run the catering and the office staff who are brilliant. You depend upon them and without them it all falls apart.”

Dr Melvin said even his own parents were surprised when he landed the job as head of Hardye’s nearly 23 years ago.

His 12 years of previous teaching experience had included stints as a head of English and a deputy headteacher.

He said: “I was very ambitious – I was very keen to be a headteacher and I wasn’t really concerned where I lived.

“I applied and much to the surprise of my parents I got the job and went from there.”

Dr Melvin said he was pleased with what he had achieved since coming to Dorchester. He said: “I think education in Dorchester was not where it should have been. Through a combination of circumstances we were able to make some changes.”

In 1992 the boys and girls schools merged in what Dr Melvin described as a ‘very challenging time for the school and the community’.

However, he added: “All the promises and expectations we hoped would come from a new school in Dorchester I would like to think have been fulfilled.”

At his final presentation ceremony, a prize giving for Year 11, pupils presented with him a keyboard, as he wants to learn the piano, and a jet washer for his beloved 4x4 car.