THE iconic doorway at a Tullibody school and nursery building will never see pupils walk through again after the end of this week.

For better or worse, the doors to the town's Abercromby PS will close forever this Friday, June 28, as the school community looks forward to taking up residence at the almost-complete Tullibody South Campus.

Current classes, ex-pupils, staff and the wider community said their fond farewells to the old building last Thursday, June 20, with a special commemorative event.

Charting life at the School Road building between 1951 and 2019, visitors were treated to an array of displays which included photos throughout the ages along with artefacts and memorabilia.

Talented young musicians and choirs were also on stage throughout the day to entertain what was a steady stream of visitors coming through.

Guests included some of the first Dux medallists receiving accolades in the hall in sisters Rita Craig and Sheena Fraser, both nee Masson.

Rita had actually started education in the even older and long-gone Abercromby in 1950 before the current building opened. It was in 1957 that she received the accolade for her academic achievement in the new hall.

She said: "It was a wonderful change from the old building, magnificent assembly hall, nice gym, all new facilities and I had a very happy primary education here.

"I was Dux of the school one year, and my sister was Dux the following year, so that was a wee achievement for our family."

Rita will be sad to see the walls gone, which will be demolished once children are attending the new campus.

Sitting in the assembly hall that had been at the centre of so much activity over the past nearly 70 years, she added: "This has been a very nostalgic day, I've met some people I haven't seen for years that attended school with me.

"To lose this lovely hall is quite sad. I know things have to progress, but it is quite sad."

A favourite for many was an annual summer trip to Dounans Camp, but Rita will also remember enjoying the chance to help run the library, school concerts and the then new playground.

In her submission to the school, which was collecting memories from the past, she added: "Two other people to mention: Mr Downie the headmaster.

"When he came to look after our class we would ask him about the war and he would tell us stories so we avoided lessons.

"The other person was Mr Bowie the janitor who was scary as he guarded 'his' new assembly hall against all comers."

Rita's sister Sheena started school in 1951, when the then new building opened.

She said: "It was lovely; every classroom had a door where you could go out onto a terrace outside, and if it was a nice day we often had our lessons out there.

"Even if it was just the teacher reading us a book and we'd all carry our chairs out and sit there in the sun."

And whether she was proud at the time to receive the Dux medal, she told the Advertiser: "Well, I more or less had to, my sister having done it the year before it was expected and thankfully I was able to do it."

Speaking about the building itself, she added: "There are a lot of memories tied up here, prize-givings, school shows – and it's just a lovely hall, it's a shame they can't keep that as part of the new school."

Chris Calder, chair of Tullibody History Group based at the Heritage Centre just across the road, was also there and brought along many old pictures and information on the school, all packed into numerous files for visitors to pour over.

She will be looking to preserve its history and said: "We had a lot of people in today, one gentleman came up from England in fact and he is very emotional, I would say, about his old school.

"We've had one of the original teachers here that came to teach in 1951 so that's been amazing."

Some visitors contributed by handing in never-before-seen photographs, while others were able to give the names of people in the pictures.

Chris also brought along an item that perhaps brought back some not-so-happy memories for former pupils: the school's old tawse.

The leather 'belt' – a rather thick Lochgelly no. 12 – was described as "pretty lethal" by Chris, who brought it over from the Heritage Centre.

The Advertiser understands he was a frequent customer.

Chris added: "Absolutely abhorrent now to be used on children, but certainly wasn't 50 years ago.

"I think one or two people remember it very vividly."

For current headteacher Aileen Ferguson, the event was about giving the wider community an opportunity to visit one last time.

She said: "All in all it was a very successful event, which was very well received by all who came along.

"Visitors appreciated having the chance to visit, tour parts of the school and enjoyed catching up with former classmates, sharing many fond memories over a cup of tea."