FRIDAY meant an emotional goodbye for the pupils, parents and staff at a longstanding school in Ceiriog Valley.

The school bell at Ysgol Pontfadog rang out to signal the end of term for one last time, bringing an end to its services after 110 years.

A decision was made in 2018 to close the English-medium school which teaches fewer than 20 primary school children, despite more than 1,300 objections being made.

Staff and the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) at the school ensured the day was even more unforgettable, by arranging a fun day for pupils and parents to enjoy.

Teacher Katherine Langford praised the work of the PTA and the support the school has received over the years.

She said "Since Christmas time really, we have been preparing for today.

"We’ve been doing a lot with the community and the PTA have been amazing.

"We’ve planned events like today and extra trips and a leaver’s ceremony – I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room on that day.

"The children have had ups and downs, but we’ve tried as staff to make it as positive as we possibly can to keep them upbeat, but naturally of course they’ve been upset.

"We’d just like to thank the parents, children and community.

"The backing this school has received is absolutely amazing.

"If you came to a fun day, concert or school fair, anything at all, we are backed by everyone here.

"The support for a school of such small numbers is unbelievable."

Fellow member of staff Steffan Williams reflected on his time teaching at the school.

He added: "I’ve absolutely loved it.

"It’s a small team of four that are here regularly – it’s literally like a family.

"There are fewer than 20 children here, it’s not something you get it many places.

"It’s lovely."

Meanwhile children at the school will now be preparing to embark on a new journey as they get set to restart their education elsewhere come September.

Year 3 pupil Tomos Humphreys said: "I don't think it's fair at all that our school has closed down.

"My friends have been very upset. My cousin has to go to a different school because it's closing, and all my friends are going to different schools.

"I've spent half my life here. I would like to thank my teachers and wish them all good luck."

Current and former staff members and pupils visited to attend the ringing of the school bell for the final time.

Mair Evans, who was originally a pupil at Ysgol Pontfadog and went on to be a teacher, gave a special mention to the children who attended the school.

She said: “I came back here [as a teacher] in 2009 – I was originally a pupil here 60 years ago.

“One of my teachers who taught me when I was just five years old came back to visit earlier today, I’m so happy we were both here.

“I wasn’t going to come initially because this place holds too many memories for me, it’s very emotional and sad.

“But I’m glad I’ve come down. I am retiring now; I don’t know what I’ll do.

“I’d also like to make a note of saying that the kids here are absolutely lovely – they’re country kids.

“It’s a lovely school with nice, friendly staff and supportive parents – it will be a great loss.”

Former pupil and now PhD graduate Erin Lloyd Jones reflected on her time as a pupil 30 years ago.

She added: “My family moved here from Yorkshire and I started here aged four learning Welsh – it was absolutely wonderful.

“Because it was such a close-knit community and the classes weren’t too big, you got plenty of attention and made so many close friends.

“I live about an hour away, but I’ve come back for today specifically. It’s sad it’s not going to be a place of learning anymore because I have such fond memories of this place.

“I feel as though it’s a place which set me up to do well, so it’s sad nobody else will be able to experience that.”

Meanwhile, Wrexham County Borough Councillor for Ceiriog Valley Trevor Bates addressed everyone at the school before the final bell rang.

He said the closure of the school was the last thing he wanted to happen.

“It’s really not good. What we must try to do is remember the good things,” he said.

“This school has provided so many people with an education to go on and do so many great things.

“It’s been a part of everyone’s lives here for so long, and throughout the campaign to keep the school open, the people of this village have acted with such dignity in their actions.

“I think that says a lot about the community we live in.

“I’m awfully sorry to see this happen, I’m not sure what else there is I can say.”