Swapping school for alpaca farm
School’s finally out for headteacher Karen Hepworth-Lavery, who is swapping the classroom for the great outdoors.
Karen, who lives in Maxey, near Market Deeping, has retired after 35 years in teaching, 28 of those as a headteacher, to spend more time with her alpacas.
Karen fell in love with the adorable creatures after going on a walking with alpacas experience just over two years ago and decided she wanted to buy some.
She now has a small herd of 11 alpacas and from that came the inspiration for Misty Meadows Alpacas of Maxey, a business she set up with her husband, journalist John Lavery.
But, although she has called time on her work as a headteacher, Karen does not intend to turn her back on education.
She is planning to offer an education consultancy service and, through her alpaca business, will also be providing a programme of educational support for children and adults with special needs, as well as a range of alpaca experiences.
Karen said: “Because alpacas are naturally gentle and calming they are perfect for working with children and adults with a variety of special needs, including autism, and learning, social, emotional or communication difficulties.”
Karen retired after 21 years as headteacher of Heritage Park Primary School in Stanground, having been appointed when the school was first built in 1997.
Before taking up the appointment at Heritage Park, she was previously headteacher of Elton CE Primary School, Northamptonshire and Milton Road Primary School in Cambridge.