Dear FrienKarends and Neighbours,

As I prepare to retire from St Giles I have been asked to write instead of Karen.
I started my interest in church and my love of Jesus at the age of 6 when one of neighbours, Miss Shepherd, who was also a cub leader, took me to Sunday School with her every week. I thought it was probably so Mum and Dad could have a lie in and some peace and quiet from me playing the piano, accordion or the recorder for most of the day! At the age of 10 I used to go to play with my friend in Oakmere Park. During one of my visits to the park I spotted that the Causeway Chapel had a tent in the park for a week ‘to spread the word!’ I loved the singing of hymns and psalms and went into the tent to listen. I enjoyed singing God’s praises so much that I used to learn each of the daily Psalms and if I could recite them from heart the following day, I would receive the psalm on a Plaster of Paris plaque to take home. I collected a whole set of them over the week and still have them in my loft to this day. I continued to attend the Causeway Chapel for a while until I moved from Brownies to Guides and attended St. John’s Methodist Church for regular church parades.
During this time I was working on my service flash and became a Sunday School teacher at the tender age of 13. I knew then that I wanted to be a teacher and preferably in a church school. I continued to teach at Sunday School for several years after I obtained my service flash and while I was a Ranger Guide. Being a member of a church has always been an important part of my life as has working with young people. I went on to be a Cub Scout Leader and a Venture Scout Leader.
At the age of 19 I started work at Barclays Bank in Bloomsbury in 1977. As much as I wanted to be a teacher, I wanted to gain some experience of life in the workplace rather than go from school to college and back into school. I worked for Barclays for 5 years. In 1982 I went to Thames Polytechnic for 3 years to do my teaching degree and achieved my BEd in 1985.
I moved to South Woodford and took up my first teaching job at the age of 24. My first class was a Year 5 class with 35 children at Fullwood Primary School, Barkingside, in Essex, with a Teaching Assistant popping in on 2 afternoons when we did art and science! During this time I taught all classes in KS2. I worked there for 4 years and in 1989 moved to Stroud Green, Haringey, to St. Aidan’s C of E Primary School where I took on the role of KS1 Leader, teaching Year 2. During my time at St. Aidan’s I taught all of the younger years. I also got married in 1990 to Tom Ridge and moved to Potters Bar in 1991. In 1994 I had my son, Jonathan. Sadly I lost my husband when he had a heart attack at work in 1995, when Jonathan was just a year old. Also in 1995 following the death of my husband, I started attending Christ Church in Little Heath every week and began to get involved with the singing group of which I am still a part of today. Singing God’s praises is an important part of my worship and I love it!
In 1995 I got a job as KS1 Leader in Little Heath Primary School in Potters Bar, nearer to home. My parents also live in Potters bar which was handy for child-care. I have always worked full-time and am extremely grateful for my parents’ support during these difficult times and in enabling me to continue with my teaching career. I soon became Deputy Head at Little Heath, teaching from Reception to Year 3 and producing many of their end of year shows. My love of singing, dancing and acting with my amateur dramatic society helped me gain the experience and knowledge to produce, choreograph and musically direct many shows over the 13 years I was teaching at Little Heath. I was fortunate that Jonathan was able to attend this school from Nursery to Year 6, although I never taught him other than for choir and productions.
I achieved the National Professional Headteachers’ Qualification in 2004 but didn’t pursue my first Headship until 2007 when I applied for and was successfully appointed as Headteacher of St. Giles C of E Primary School. I took up my post in April 2008. St. Giles was and is still a very special school. It has been such a privilege to lead such a wonderful school. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with several colleagues over the years and many for all of my 9 years. I have enjoyed working with many families and facing the many challenges and successes over the years but most of all the opportunity to see all the children who have passed through our doors grow and flourish into fine young people when they leave our school, ready to face with confidence the next stage of their life’s journey walking in the light of Christ.
I will miss the school very much but will cherish many fond memories as I look forward to retirement and spending much needed time with my family. It is adios but not goodbye!…I shall be back!… to visit from time to time. May God Bless you all as I have indeed been blessed over the last 32 years of my teaching career.
Sue Ridge

And all of us in South Mimms and Ridge say thank you so much to Sue!

May God Bless us all,