Prime Minister officially opens Burradon Primary School
Tony Blair visited Burradon Primary School (Friday, 17 Nov 2006) amidst tight security to cut a ribbon and officially open this superb new facility. Some have spoken in the last few months of the sadness at the loss of the 140 year old school and how it has been a landmark and a source of wonderful memories to members of the community. But the theme, very much of the opening ceremony, was one of not just moving forward, but also of a continuing tradition.
Photos Courtesy of Angela Hunter (Burradon Primary School)
On arrival, the Prime Minister was guided around the school by staff and some delighted school pupils. He was then escorted into the main hall to take part in a ceremony witnessed by invited guests, consisting of school governors and staff, local officials, Forum members and of course the school pupils.
Mr. Gilfillan, the headteacher, opened the proceedings, then invited the Prime Minister to speak. In his speech he talked of how the miners used the money from the 1860 disaster fund to build a school, realising the value of education as a way out of the hardship of their existence. He said that he was particularly pleased to visit Burradon and to see that tradition continuing, praising everyone involved in the project, especially the headteacher, in achieving the build of such a fine school.
Stephen Byers, the local MP, spoke reminding the Prime Minister of how in 1995 he had said that education, education, education would be a priority for a future Labour government. He recited a story about speaking to a local resident who had asked that his praise for carrying out this policy, especially in regard to Burradon, should be passed on.
A rousing rendition of "Keel Row" was sung by the school choir. Amy Taylor, a year six pupil, gave a confident and articulate speech on how the children love their new school. The Revd Angela Maughan gave a blessing on the school and the proceedings were rounded off by the headteacher who described how the idea for the school had come into being, including the pupils helping in the design, and the support received from the government, NTMBC and community.
Everyone involved in the project should feel justifiably proud of their achievements and the success of this day.