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Emotional afternoon as school closes following long battle

PUBLISHED: 17:22 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:24 23 July 2018

A closing ceremony was held at Alderman Swindell Primary School in Yarmouth. 
Picture: Nick Butcher

A closing ceremony was held at Alderman Swindell Primary School in Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Tears were shed in the playground of a primary school in Great Yarmouth as it held its closing ceremony following a long and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to keep it open.

Alderman Swindell Primary School and Nursery will merge with North Denes Primary School in a new £7m site following a protracted period of consultations, protest marches and legal challenges.

The headteacher, Alison Hopley, played a key role in the fight to keep the school open but on Friday afternoon she led a positive ceremony, encouraging parents, staff and pupils to be thankful for the memories they have and to carry them forward into the future.

Yarmouth Mayor Mary Coleman unveils a mosaic during the closing ceremony of Alderman Swindell Primary School.
Picture: Nick ButcherYarmouth Mayor Mary Coleman unveils a mosaic during the closing ceremony of Alderman Swindell Primary School. Picture: Nick Butcher

The Mayor of the borough, councillor Mary Coleman, was in attendance with her consort in full regalia and she shared a few words following an opening song of thanks.

She said: “I know this day is tinged with a great deal of sadness and emotion, but we are honoured to be a part of it.

Youngsters from Alderman Swindell Primary School, Yarmouth perform during a special closing ceremony of the school.
Picture: Nick ButcherYoungsters from Alderman Swindell Primary School, Yarmouth perform during a special closing ceremony of the school. Picture: Nick Butcher

“It is a very difficult time for you and your community, particularly as your school is so old, but I do hope you have lots of happy memories here.

“The community has shown a great deal of loyalty to the school and I congratulate you, but now it is time to move on. I wish you all the best of success in the future.”

Yarmouth Mayor Mary Coleman unveils a mosaic during the closing ceremony of Alderman Swindell Primary School.
Picture: Nick ButcherYarmouth Mayor Mary Coleman unveils a mosaic during the closing ceremony of Alderman Swindell Primary School. Picture: Nick Butcher

Year 1 and 2 students then performed a maypole dance, which staff managed to keep flowing despite a teetering pole and a few tangles.

Following another song school governor and councillor, Mike Smith-Clare, made an impassioned speech that encapsulated the message of the day, which saw several parents wiping their cheeks.

He said: “How many people love Alderman Swindell? How many people will forget Alderman Swindell? That is the most important thing.

“Everyone here has been touched not just by this building, but the teachers, the parents, the community.

“Be proud of what you’ve done and continue to do, because you have been given the best possible start at this wonderful and unique school.”

The flag that was raised when the school opened in 1929 was then lowered to the sound of a bugle before the ceremony closed with an uplifting drums procession and the unveiling of a tiled mosaic decorated by parents and students.

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