On Friday 14th July, Mrs Monica Farrell, the longest serving teacher at St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy in Derby, was celebrated by the school with a liturgical prayer, as she prepares to retire after 25 years.

Her husband and family were there to witness her being awarded the St Hugh Diocesan Medal for Service to the Catholic community. It was presented to her by Peter Giorgio, the head of the Catholic Education service (pictured with Mrs Farrell below), and Kevin Gritton, the CEO of the Trust, was on hand to give his good wishes.

Mrs Farrell’s Catholic faith has been the core of her commitment to the school, both as a class teacher and RE Leader. She taught at the old St Mary’s School, which was based next to the Church, spent 18 years at the ‘new’ School on the Broadway site, and was there to support and teach the children during the disruption caused by the tragic fire in October 2020. She leaves as the School prepares to move to its new permanent biophilic building back on the Broadway site later this year.
Mrs Farrell is a much loved teacher who has inspired a generation of children and fellow staff. During the liturgical prayer, one of the children said – “she reminds me of Our Lady” – it would be hard to find a better accolade than that. The whole school community will miss her, but as Fr Gregory Tobin, commented, her faith will see her continue as a catechist at the parish, as she continues to be a teacher in the full sense of the word – guiding, encouraging and inspiring others.