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Mixture of emotions as school’s community celebration attracts fine turnout

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:00 24 June 2018

Headteacher Alison Hopley as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

Headteacher Alison Hopley as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

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A headteacher praised the community spirit as hundreds of people turned out for a special event.

Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesAlderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

Families, ex-staff, governors, former pupils and lots of children enjoyed “a real celebration” as a Great Yarmouth school held its last ever summer fete.

Celebrate Alderman Swindell was marked in style on Saturday (June 23) as the crowds gathered at Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School’s community fair.

Former pupil Thelma Brooks with the school logbook as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesFormer pupil Thelma Brooks with the school logbook as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

The fun event was held to “honour the community that has supported us over the last 89 years” after Norfolk County Council confirmed plans to close Alderman Swindell and merge it with the nearby North Denes Primary School.

With a pop-up museum created by pupils, there were log books, registers, displays of old toys, old class photos, scrapbooks and memories of education throughout the years being showcased alongside a range of fun activities and games.

Beatriz and Rafael write their names in chalk as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesBeatriz and Rafael write their names in chalk as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

Stalls, bouncy castles, a raffle, face painting, cakes and refreshments were all enjoyed along with visits from the emergency services, a Punch and Judy show and performances from the pupils with Yarmouth-based SeaChange Arts.

The school opened in September 1929, and among some of those who returned at the weekend was Thelma Brooks, of Gorleston, who attended the school in 1935. She said: “It is quite emotional and it really takes you back.”

A museum was set up as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesA museum was set up as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

Charles Marsden attended the school in around 1945/46 and he remembered being put to bed for a nap during the school day.

With all proceeds raised at the event going to Open Christmas Great Yarmouth and East Coast Truckers. Carole Beck and Judith Hambrook, volunteers from Open Christmas, said: “Obviously the school is closing and there is a lot of sadness, but this is so kind of the school and really thoughful of them to think of us.”

Olivia Sambrook as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesOlivia Sambrook as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

Julie Watkins-Burton, of East Coast Truckers, added: “We are absolutely overjoyed with the generosity of the school in choosing our two organisations.”

The mayor of the Great Yarmouth borough, Mary Coleman, was also present at the celebration event. The mayor said: “I am honoured to have been invited along and have met some lovely people . The children are really enjoying themselves and hopefully this will provide another great memory.”

Charles Marsden recalled how as a former pupil the children used to have a nap during the day on a similar bed to this one as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesCharles Marsden recalled how as a former pupil the children used to have a nap during the day on a similar bed to this one as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

Headteacher’s reaction

An old photo of Mr Swindell as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesAn old photo of Mr Swindell as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

With Swindell having touched the lives of many families in the area and beyond over the past 89 years, the event was organised to honour the community.

Displays on show as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesDisplays on show as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

Headteacher Alison Hopley said: “I am really, really proud. It’s sad that this will be the last summer fair, but the purpose was to allow people to come and say goodbye.

“There is a nice buzz and you can see this school is the centre of the community. This is a community celebration.

Maisie Edgar has a bee painted on her face by Katarina Smith as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesMaisie Edgar has a bee painted on her face by Katarina Smith as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

“You can see the community spirit on show here – we are a community school. It breaks my heart because I think its not just a school, its so much more than that.

“It is going to be a real loss to the community but this is a real celebration – we don’t fizzle out, we go out with a bang.”

Headteacher Alison Hopley with the Swindell bee, mayor Cllr Mary Coleman and the mayor's consort as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesHeadteacher Alison Hopley with the Swindell bee, mayor Cllr Mary Coleman and the mayor's consort as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

When the plans for the merger were revealed a protest march was held, a campaign group was formed and a legal challenge was launched – but these proved unsuccessful.

Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesAlderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

Funds were raised for Open Christmas Great Yarmouth as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Carole Beck and Judith Hambrook, volunteers for Open Christmas Great Yarmouth. Pictures: Mick HowesFunds were raised for Open Christmas Great Yarmouth as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Carole Beck and Judith Hambrook, volunteers for Open Christmas Great Yarmouth. Pictures: Mick Howes

Stephen Stigwood as Alderman Swindell at the Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School's  last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesStephen Stigwood as Alderman Swindell at the Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School's last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

Former pupil Thelma Brooks, centre, as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesFormer pupil Thelma Brooks, centre, as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

Old class photos on display as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick HowesOld class photos on display as Alderman Swindell Primary and Nursery School held its last ever summer fete. Pictures: Mick Howes

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