Elderly school caretaker dyed kids blue

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Britain’s oldest school caretaker has been suspended after accidentally dyeing a whole class of young children blue.

Norman Fletcher, 87, who staff feared had been getting increasingly “doddery”, got chemicals for the Little Brimmer Primary School swimming pool mixed up with powdered blue paint.

Far from making the indoor pool water cleaner, his mistake turned it into a huge paint pot.

And when the class of excited eight-year-old kids jumped in for their afternoon swimming lesson, they surfaced looking like a group of startled smurfs.

They were immediately hauled out of the water, but the colour would not rinse off in the showers.

As a precaution, the children were taken to the Little Brimmer Medical Centre, where the receptionist annoyed teachers by asking: “Where are you all coming from?”

Doctors said nobody’s health was at risk, and worried parents were told the paint should fade away by the summer.

A sign at the school gates warns the swimming pool will be closed for the foreseeable future.


Mum Lorraine Fisher, 34, said: “We all like Mr Fletcher. The old boy has been part of school life here for over 60 years, but we feel the work is getting a bit too much for him.

“My daughter thinks it’s funny being blue, and she’ll certainly looks a little odd over the Easter holidays, but it could have been worse.

“What if Mr Fletcher had got rat poison mixed up instead of paint? At least the worst of it now is the kids look like smurfs.”

Headmaster James Peat said in a statement: “We are taking this very seriously, and Mr Fletcher has been suspended pending further inquiries.

“He has served the school loyally, and we know he loves his job, but at 87 years old it is probably time for him to hang up his mop.”

Mr Fletcher, who had mistaken the paint for chemicals when he visited Little Brimmer’s local shop to stock up on school supplies, was too upset to talk to the Suffolk Gazette.


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  1. Lady J

    December 8, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Oh dear, hope the Old Boy isn’t too upset by this. The kids will think it is great Fun and the Adults should remember it even if there is an undercurrent of “what if…! This report had me in stitches…!

  2. David G Young

    December 8, 2015 at 11:29 am

    This story seems ever so slightly as if it might be a hoax. The CGI poster is a hint, and that Norman Fletcher just happened to be the caretaker’s name is another one.

    • The Editor

      December 8, 2015 at 11:34 am

      Dear Mr Young,

      You should be a detective.

      The Editor

  3. Peter

    December 8, 2015 at 6:53 am

    How come the local shop sells chemicals for a swimming pool and poster paint??

  4. Julian Meldrum

    December 5, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    What a great way to show the wider community that the school pool is being properly used – though I have to ask where the COSHH sheet was filed…

  5. David Yelverton

    December 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Dear Editor.
    Given that Suffolk is a True Blue county I can’t see why the majority of people might object. Now if the kids had emerged dyed deepest red this might have been seen as a stunt by a crazed Corbynista, but blue?- no real harm done !

  6. The Pipemajor

    December 3, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    A wonderful report. Poor old boy!

  7. Edith

    December 3, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    With ever increasing retirement age we’ll need to get used to incidents like these. There was a 78 year old stacking shelves in our local Waitrose and he placed the brown shoe polish where the Eucryl tooth powder should have been. Sign of the times I say

  8. Suffolk Nationalist Party

    December 3, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    It could have been FAR worse – what if the paint had been Canary yellow?

    • The Editor

      December 3, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Dear Nationalist,

      Of course, that would have been unbearable. However, I should point out yellow paint would have been spotted in the pool before the kids jumped in.

      Unless they normally wee in it a lot.

      The Editor

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