VIP invite for Saddleworth School's "Baz"
Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 09 July 2019
Proms at the end of final year exams give excited school leavers a real chance to really strut their stuff...
But 260 kind hearted Saddleworth School students insisted a very special attend their glittering event this year.
Smiling Barrie Ashley, or Baz as he in affectionally known, has been a member of the school’s site team for four years.
Working under the close direction of site manager, Ray Watling, he is responsible for keeping the school site clean and tidy, clearing leaves and snow in the winter.
But when Year 11 staged their prom at the stylish Saddleworth Hotel the pupils insisted Barrie attend and they paid for his own personal VIP ticket.
Head teacher Matthew Milburn said: “ Barrie is an absolute star. He is a true character and has a heart of gold.
“He is so involved in the school and is very well thought of and popular with the pupils.
“He had a fantastic evening and enjoyed seeing all the pupils and staff who were all very kind and he liked watching them all enjoy themselves.
“He danced to his favourite songs all night and said the hotel was beautiful with gorgeous gardens outside. He enjoyed seeing the children arrive — in particular the girl on a tractor.”
Mr Milburn added: “Barrie used to attend Saddleworth School as a pupil in the 1960’s and has worked his whole life helping others through his work with Adult Services and Dr Kershaw’s Hospice.
“He’s a firm favourite in the staff school pantomime and has a starring role. The pupils love to watch him perform and dance and they all chant his name.
“Barrie is a central figure to our school, so popular and exudes happiness. He is always positive and is always willing to help anyone. Children respect him and he is a positive influence.”
And a friend of Barrie’s has a photograph from the prom copied and framed for him as a memento of the night.
Among the glamorous outfits and stylish arrivals Ashleigh Holroyd, a member of the farming family, stood out as she rolled up on a bright green and yellow tractor driven by her brother, Sam.
She was keeping up the family tradition because Sam, a former Saddleworth School pupil, came by tractor at his prom some years ago.
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