THE legacy left by Karen Fleming lives on at Musselburgh Burgh Primary School following her retiral as headteacher after 18 years at the school.

She said it was “a hard time” to leave amidst the Covid-19 pandemic as she didn’t have the chance to see all the children in person before her departure as the school was closed, with learning and communication taking place online.

Mrs Fleming, who lives in Portobello, also paid tribute to school secretary Moira Aitken, from Gullane, who also retired after 20 years at the Burgh, and Moira Gilbert, from Leith, who retired after 17 years as a class teacher.

Jon Doyle, depute headteacher, is working as the acting headteacher until a successor is appointed.

He paid tribute to Mrs Fleming, whose retiral was planned before the Covid-19 crisis.

He said: “Karen Fleming’s legacy at the Burgh is her mantra and the school’s famous motto ‘Everything is Possible’. These words are emblazoned on the school badge, adorn the classroom walls and are celebrated in everything we do.

“Her inspiring message remains central to the Burgh’s vision, values and aims and is also at the heart of our Nurture policy – which is another of the momentous positive innovations Karen made during her long headship at the school.

“With regard to Karen’s other enduring gift to the school community, we’re hopeful that the Burgh’s annual musical theatre production will continue under the lights for many years and that, while our director has decided the time is right to exit stage left, the show will go on.

“On a personal note, I would like to reiterate my eternal gratitude to Karen for her generosity and the support and guidance she has given me throughout the years that we worked so closely together. I also know that, like me, all of our families, our staff and colleagues and the local community recognise and appreciate the incredible work that Karen did to make the Burgh the fantastic school it is today.

“Everyone connected to the Burgh wishes Karen a long and happy retirement and we look forward to catching up with her as often as possible in between the many cruises, city breaks and theatre shows she will undoubtedly already have planned.”

Mrs Fleming arrived at the Burgh as its depute headteacher after serving as assistant headteacher at Craiglockhart Primary School in Edinburgh for 17 years. After four years as depute head, she took over the headteacher mantle.

With a teaching career spanning 35 years, she felt the time had come to enjoy more leisure time, as her husband Alex is also planning his future retirement.

The couple, who have two grown-up children, planned several holidays this year, including a cruise to Canada, which were cancelled due to coronavirus. Instead, Mrs Fleming has been catching up with household tasks.

She said she was delighted to be able to see the 30 pupils who attended the hub for children of key workers during lockdown and had been in touch with pupils and parents online.

One big disappointment was the cancellation of this year’s show, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was due to be staged by the school’s theatre group the week the school closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Mrs Fleming, who received cards and flowers to mark her retirement, is hoping to return to the school in the future to see the children. A retirement afternoon tea is also a future possibility.

She said: “I would like to have been at the school to share my retiral with the children and parents. There is a good team at the school which has been a great place to work. I also felt that with East Lothian Council you were never a number – it is a very personal local authority.”