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Appeal for memories as closure looms for Norfolk primary school where half the pupils have left

PUBLISHED: 09:08 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:31 28 March 2018

Headteacher Alison Hopley
 celebrates her schools outstanding Ofsted. Photo: James Bass

Headteacher Alison Hopley celebrates her schools outstanding Ofsted. Photo: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic© 2008

A primary school set to shut in the summer just shy of its 90th birthday is appealing for memories as it prepares to celebrate its life and times.

Alderman Swindell School.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYAlderman Swindell School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Alderman Swindell Primary School and Nursery is closing in July, ending decades of schooling for generations of families in the urban heart of Great Yarmouth’s Newtown area.

Headteacher Alison Hopley said she was sad about the school’s demise as Norfolk County Council looked to build a new school on the North Denes site and find a new use for the Swindell buildings.

In the last year the school’s population has halved.

MORE: Alison Hopley head of closure-threatened Alderman Swindell Primary School in Great Yarmouth comes out fighting over planned £6.4m merger

“I am feeling sad because we are very much a community,” she said.

More than 150 people attended a demonstration at Alderman Swindell Primary School as part of a campaign  to save the school from closure. Photo courtesy of the Save our School.More than 150 people attended a demonstration at Alderman Swindell Primary School as part of a campaign to save the school from closure. Photo courtesy of the Save our School.

“The children here are the third, fourth and fifth generation of families that have come through the school.

“Where we are we are in the heart of Newtown, there are houses all around us.

“I have had children leave and go to other schools and parents in tears.

“It is tricky but on the other hand I am a pragmatist. I have got to make this good. We have got to get on and make it a success.”

The school is staging a community celebration day and school fayre on June 23.

As well as the usual fayre fodder including free rides, barbecue and donkey rides there will be an exhibition featuring old photographs and memorabilia chronicling the experiences of its pupils over the years.

Any money raised will be donated to good causes.

MORE: Parents, pupils and teachers march through Great Yarmouth to protest Alderman Swindell closure

The school opened in 1929 and was in the process of growing from an infant school to a primary.

Miss Hopley has been at the helm for 16 years.

Once the merger bid was announced parents and children fought a determined campaign to save it, taking to the streets waving placards and firing off letters to those with power and influence including the Prime Minister Theresa May.

It was decided at the end of last year that the axe would fall.

Some parents withdrew their children amid worries about what would happen while the new school was taking shape on a building site with all the traffic and noise that went with it.

MORE: Boy, 9, tells prime minister Theresa May he is “feeling very sad” about Alderman Swindell merger proposal

The school’s population is half what it was this time last year with 116 pupils, but all are welcome to the celebration.

To offer material for the exhibition either pop into the Beresford Road school, call 01493 842055 or email office@aldermanswindell@norfolk@sch.uk

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Sky-high fares, an unreliable service, and cheaper alternative transport options are all being blamed for a significant drop in rail passengers in Great Yarmouth over the last five years.

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