Preservation vow as school is demolished

Collegiate High School, Blackpool
Collegiate High School, Blackpool
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A grammar school old boy today told of his dismay that a commemorative tree planted in honour of a school’s 50th anniversary has been destroyed by gardeners.

The royal oak tree was bought by Collegiate High School from the royal estate at Sandringham and planted in the school grounds to mark 50 years since its opening as Blackpool Grammar School.

The planting ceremony in May 2012 also marked the Queen’s Jubilee year.

But when old boy Gordon Halliwell, 87, went to visit the sapling earlier this week he found it had been destroyed by a lawnmower.

Now Mr Halliwell, who was an active member of the now disbanded old boys association, has said he hopes the school will take time to preserve other important areas of the grounds and buildings when it is redeveloped.

He said: “I went to take pictures of the front of the building before they demolish it but the lawnmower must have destroyed the oak tree. There are artefacts in the school that should be preserved.”

Plans are in place to demolish the main buildings off Blackpool Old Road to make way for a new £10m building, when Collegiate and Bispham high schools merge.

The school has vowed to preserve Collegiate’s heritage within the new build.

John Topping, who took up post as acting headteacher earlier this year, said: “If the tree has been damaged and destroyed we are sorry.

“The school has tremendous heritage and all of that we are seeking to preserve. We are looking at the whole premises at the moment, at what can be kept and protected and preserved. Important things will be built into the new school.”

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