Fond farewell before school closes down

Parkwood School VERNA MARSHALL 6TH FROM LEFT BACK ROW in the 1970's
Parkwood School VERNA MARSHALL 6TH FROM LEFT BACK ROW in the 1970's

IT IS a school that has been at the heart of its local community for more than 70 years.

But now the end of the road is in sight - and at Easter the old Parkwood Academy building in Shirecliffe will close its doors for the last time.

Students and staff will move across the campus to a new multi-million-pound home, built as part of Sheffield’s Building Schools for the Future programme.

Hundreds of former pupils and staff could not resist having one last look around the school, which has had a few other names over the years, including Shirecliffe Secondary, Herries School and Parkwood High.

For former dinner lady Jean Lindley, there were more than a few tears when she looked around the kitchen and dining room where she had worked for 12 years in the 1960s and 70s.

Jean was one of the team which began work when a new kitchen opened at Herries in 1961 - but now aged 82, she is the only surviving member.

She said: “I looked in the kitchen and I could just see my friends cooking there - I just cried, it brought back so many memories.

“It was a good school, the headteacher was Eric Robinson and he was a man who stood no nonsense.”

Former pupil Graham Copeland, 67, who was at the school in the 1950s, had come all the way from North Wales with wife Margaret for the open day.

He said: “There are so many people here I want to meet that I haven’t seen for years.

“It’s brilliant to be here - in many ways it has hardly altered at all.

“It’s such a shame it’s going to be pulled down, it’s the first time I’ve ever been back.”

Ken Cottingham. now 80, was one of the oldest ‘old boys’ enjoying the day - he was a pupil during the war, from 1942 to 1945.

He had heard about the event through friend George Clarkson, 78, a pupil from 1944 to 1950.

Ken said: “It was a good school with good teachers, but it was tough - you’d get the cane, the slipper and have the blackboard rubber thrown at you - in fact anything they could pick up.

“Of course it’s changed over the years, it’s difficult to remember it how it was then.

“It’s my first time back, I live up in Loxley now.”

Andi Ashmore, 34, who attended Herries from 1988-1994, said: “They used to send troublemakers out of class and make them stand in the corridor - that’s where I spent most of my time.

“It’s strange just looking around - it seems a lot smaller than I remember.”

Teacher Barbara Davidson took away more than memories when she left the school in 1977 - she took a husband too, fellow member of staff Peter.

She said: “It’s a bit weird seeing some of our students again - they remember me but I don’t recognise them. It was a good school back then, very friendly.

It wasn’t all about the golden oldies - current students Rhys Jones, 16, and 15-year-old Levi Kinsiona, 15, came to the open day.

Rhys said: “It’s sort of sad it’s going - we haven’t seen the new school yet.

“It’s a good place here, good people and a good working environment.”