Long-serving teacher John Rick got the surprise of his life when famous former pupil Dan Jarvis came back to personally thank him for helping thousands of pupils get a great start in life.
Mr Rick, who is retiring after 36 years of working as a history teacher at Rushcliffe School, was moved to tears when the military hero, turned high-profile politician, appeared during a farewell assembly to help give him a send-off to remember.
Dan Jarvis, who started at Rushcliffe School in 1984, has won a string of military honours and an MBE for his service in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
After just four years in politics he has now become a key figure in the shadow cabinet and one of the big names to watch in the Labour party.
He told the assembly: “I’ve come back today to say a big thank you to Mr Rick. I’ve never forgotten the help and support he gave me when I started at Rushcliffe.
“I’m incredibly grateful for that – not just for myself but also for the thousands of other children he has helped. His contribution and selfless commitment has been outstanding.”
He recalled how Mr Rick, who was his form tutor at Rushcliffe, had “given him his first job in politics” when he was voted class representative.
Mr Rick joked: “I don’t think I rigged the elections” but went on to tell pupils that “Dan’s shown amazing commitment in his life both in the army and in politics”.
One of Rushcliffe’s most popular teachers, Mr Rick joined the school in 1979 and has held positions as head of history and head of year during his time there. He’s also led school trips to Cameroon, Russia, America and the battlefields in Belgium.
In 2013, he underwent major back surgery and the following year had to have a knee replacement, but he was determined not to let that end his career and made it back to teaching for his final year before retirement.
He said: “I’ve loved my time at Rushcliffe. The highlight was when the children won a national competition and we went on a trip to the Congo Jungle.
“I led the group and we learnt to do some amazing things like drink water from trees and collect honey.”