Last week the Duchess of Northumberland officially opened a new nursery, which helped save a rural first school from closure.
In July, the Gazette reported how what could have been a very final assembly tinged with sadness for Branton Community First School turned out to be a look to the future.
It had been threatened with closure at the end of the last school year, due to a lack of pupils.
The governors were forced to consult on the demise of the school last December, but received a huge response from the local community.
At the time, the school had just received the official nod for its community powers nursery, which opened at the start of this academic year.
It meant that the school will have a total of 14 pupils on roll by the end of the year, the highest in quite some time.
As a mark of its immense gratitude to the local community, for their supportive voice and actions in fund-raising and writing to the council and providing money-saving services to the school, the governing body agreed to name the new nursery The Breamish Valley Community Nursery.
Chairman of the board of governors Laura Capper explained that they ‘want everyone to remember visitors are always welcome and the school is very proud to be at the heart of such a strong and committed community.”
Last Tuesday, the Duchess of Northumberland, accompanied by her dog Fuzzy, met the children at the nursery as she officially opened the establishment, which currently has six pupils.
The children presented the Duchess with a bouquet of flowers in front of a large crowd of parents, governors and other members of the local community.
And it was a day of double celebrations at Branton.
ANational Park award was presented to the school’s headteacher Alison Lloyd-Harris by local ward member Coun Anthony Murray.
At the second annual awards ceremony last month, The Thriving Communities Award was won by Branton School Parent-Teacher Group for their efforts to save the school and set up the nursery.
Since the threat of closure first arose, fund-raising efforts by the community, who organised various events, raised £8,400 for the school and other charities
Additionally, although many very generous donations were offered, the governors agreed to accept only the financial pledges from local charitable trusts the Carr-Ellison and Vinson and from the Ingram Show and Sports Committee.