St Barnabas Primary School in Market Lavington combined its royal wedding celebrations with the marking of its 40th anniversary.

The school in Drove Lane was opened on April 19, 1971 and last Thursday former members of staff and pupils came together to reminisce about that day.

There was also a display of old photographs dating back to the days of the Victorian schools in Easterton and Market Lavington, which merged to form St Barnabas.

Janet Bates, now the school’s administrative officer, was a pupil at the old school in Church Street, Market Lavington, and couldn’t believe the difference with the new school.

She said: “I remember walking from the old school to the new one and meeting the children who had walked from the old school in Easterton. We had never had much to do with them before, so it was very exciting meeting new friends.

“The school was so much bigger and brighter than the old one. We just couldn’t believe the difference. It hasn’t changed very much over the years, except that it is a more relaxed and tolerant place than when I was here.”

School cook Faith Wheeler started her career at the new school 40 years ago and is still providing meals three days a week for the children at St Barnabas as well as Chirton and Kennet Valley schools.

She said: “We cooked for well over 200 children in those days as we had lots of children from Army and RAF families. We have been very lucky in having very good headteachers at this school.”

The current headteacher, Mary Hiscock, said that staff had been working flat out to make the anniversary celebrations a big hit and the pupils all dressed in 1970s-style costumes for the day.

She said: “The children have been making bunting and hats and we have a celebration tree in the hall where every child has embroidered their initials on a leaf.

“We had a street party in the playground with jelly and ice cream and games.”

Every child received a royal wedding coin, paid for by the parish councils of the two villages.