School caretaker’s farewell gift

School caretaker’s farewell gift

11 July 2018

A DOWNPATRICK school caretaker has received a special farewell for his 24 years of service.

The staff at Our Lady and St Patrick’s Primary School got together to make a goodbye video for the much loved Danny Murray.

The dedicated caretaker’s job spanned the former St Patrick’s Boys Primary School before it was amalgamated into the current school, and the aim of the video was to include as much about Danny’s work and personality as possible.

P2 teacher Laura Adams said they chose the Smokie song ‘Living Next Door to Alice’ as the video soundtrack as the song famously refers to “24 years” throughout — matching Danny’s length of service.

The opening of the video also refers to ‘Danny the Champion of the School’ — a play on Roald Dahl’s famous 

‘Danny the Champion of the World’ book.

“We really wanted to capture some of the things he does around the school,” said Laura. “He does so many things. He opens and closes the school, he stands in if the crossing patrol is off. He gets footballs down from the roof that the children have kicked up there. 

“He looks after the plants, he hangs signs — he’s always up a ladder. He can turn his hand to anything.”

But it won’t just be Danny’s handyman skills that will be missed. His personality also brightened up the school day for many.

“The children really like him,” said Laura.  “He is very caring towards the children. He always has a good laugh with them and he is always very patient. The children presented him with a book of their memories before he left.”

Laura said they also wanted to reflect Danny’s interest outside the school.

“Line dancing is his hobby which is why you can see us line dancing in the video,” she said.

“It was very difficult actually to film without him knowing as he was always around the school.

“He is always able to have a laugh and joke, he is great character.”

Laura explained how the idea for the video following a staff ‘Frozen’ tribute video for their former principal, Hugh Kelly, on his retirement three years ago.

“We thought Danny deserved something special too,” she said. “The staff all wanted to show their appreciation for all that Danny has done.

“We are really going to miss him and wish him a happy retirement, and all the best for the future.”

The Our Lady and St Patrick Primary School video tribute to Danny can be viewed on YouTube.