A primary school built by a local parish to serve the growing Catholic community has celebrated its 80th birthday. 

St Mary's Catholic Primary School, in Station Road, Chingford, commemorated the event attended by past and present school members with a liturgy by the school's Parish Priest, Chris Brooks, a hog-roast and a tour of archives and memorabilia in the school hall.

The events lasting over two days on Thursday and Friday also included an assembly by year four pupils based on children's experiences of the war, history projects spanning each decade since 1930 and a fancy-dress picnic. 

During the Second World War, just over a decade since its opening in 1934, the school remained open and used the church's crypt situated on the school's grounds to hide during the bomb raids over London.

At the height of the war, the school built its own air raid shelter which is still recognisable today. 

Headteacher Philomena Egan said: "Old friends were reunited and many recounted special moments from their own experiences as a pupil at our wonderful school.

"It was fascinating to learn how school life was maintained especially during the many bomb raids over Chingford from the year 4 pupil's assembly on Friday. 

"We were truly overwhelmed with the numbers that attended on Thursday. It was a magnificent evening."