A memorial bench for a much-loved school caretaker was unveiled at Elmridge Village retirement home recently.

Ernest ‘Rob’ Butcher was the caretaker at Elmbridge Boys School from 1960 until its closure in 1980.

The site of the former school in Cranleigh now hosts the Elmbridge Village retirement home, so Rob's memorial bench sits on the same piece of land he lived and worked on for those twenty years — after accepting the job, Rob moved with his family into a bungalow on the school grounds.

After his death several years ago, his son Mark Butcher set into motion the plan to remember Rob and thought that a bench on the site he knew so well would be most apt.

Of his late father, Mark said: "I spent many hours with my dad, going around the school when the boarders had gone home in the school holidays. He had an allotment at the bottom of the canal – which runs through the village – where he used to grow show Dahlias.

"The headmaster would often cycle down to us and ask ‘Rob, what’s going in in my school?’ I think he was held in high regard, and I believe he was one of the longest serving members of staff at the school."

After formulating plans for the bench Mark met with Elmbridge Village Manager Keith Henesey, who expressed his approval and support for the idea.

Mr Henesey said: "It was a great pleasure to meet Mark, who had some wonderful stories to tell about his father, and offer some lovely insights into the village as it was during his time living in the school grounds."

Accoridng to the team behind the bench, Elmbridge Boys school was one of only two schools to be run by the local authority in the UK at the time.

The school was built hastily during the 1930s to offer schooling to child evacuees moved from London and other urban zones in the South East in anticipation of the mass bombing raids that took place during the Second World War.