FORMER students surprised their retiring tutor when they turned up at her final class to say goodbye.
Ronnie Drillsma, 59, stepped down from her role as a community art tutor at Coleg Cambria after 17 years.
More than 30 of her friends and former class members gave the artist a welcome shock when they paid her a surprise visit at the college’s Deeside site to wish her goodbye.
Mrs Drillsma, from Rhydymwyn, said: “It was a complete surprise and I was completely overwhelmed.
“When you’re teaching, you don’t expect to get anything back, you do it because you love it.
“I was overwhelmed by everyone’s gratitude.”
Mrs Drillsma said one of the highlights of her time teaching was when she inadvertently played Cupid.
“Two students met through my class and ended up getting married – it was almost like a Cilla Black moment,” she said.
“The well-wishes sent to me were overwhelming, they were sincere and I thank them all. To me this hasn’t been a job, it’s been a passion.”
Wendy Proctor, a former student of Ronnie’s, was on hand to surprise her friend at the end of her final class.
She said: “It was lovely, Ronnie was surprised by us all and thoroughly enjoyed it. We actually reduced her to tears.
“Ronnie came out and said how shocked she was to see us all who had come to say goodbye and thank you. She sent me a lovely text message afterwards saying she’d been thinking about the day and it was unusual for her to be the centre of attention and see so many people there to say goodbye.”
Renee Iball, 82, from Buckley said: “We’ve been attending Ronnie’s classes for nearly 16 years.
“We’ve learnt so much from her and are so sorry that she has decided to call it a day.
“We’ll really miss her and wish her the very best for the future.”
Ronnie’s long service was also hailed by Coleg Cambria staff.
Lesley James, deputy director of curriculum for art and design, said: “Ronnie has been a wonderful ambassador for art and design in the community.
“Coleg Cambria would like to thank her wholeheartedly for her tremendous hard work and contribution over the last 17 years.”