COLLEGE chiefs past and present gathered together to mark the official opening of a state-of-the-art building.
Work on the multi-million pound Hartlepool College of Further Education building, in the town’s Stockton Street, was completed back in 2011.
But yesterday a plaque designed and created by a talented group of students was unveiled to commemorate the official opening of the college.
It was dedicated to two of the organisation’s former principals – David Waddington and Michael Bretherick – who were instrumental in driving forward the project that will leave a legacy in the town for generations.
Current principal Darren Hankey, who took over as principal last year after working at the college since 2001, told the Mail: “The college is a wonderful place for our students and for the staff.
“We have all been blown away by the quality of it. We’re two-and-a-half years in now so today is a very proud and important day for all of us.
“It’s an investment for the future of the town, and it’s a legacy for future generations, for Hartlepudlians and also for people from other parts of the North-East.
“The college has been around in one form or another since 1897, and this new building will be here long after I’ve gone.”
He added: “The plaque is in dedication to David Waddington and Michael Bretherick because this was their vision, tenacity and leadership.
“If it wasn’t for them then we wouldn’t be here today.”
Michael Bretherick, who was head from 2009 to 2013, said he was extremely proud.
“It was an incredible project and great to be involved with such a great team,” he said. “It’s nice to have contributed to such a lasting legacy for the town and its young people.”
He added: “It’s exceeded all my expectations.”
And David Waddington, who preceeded Michael as principal, said: “It’s very nice that the plaque has been dedicated to us but I think quite a lot of people did a lot of work towards this. We all worked very, very hard and we kept up the pace which is one of the reasons why we came through at the end of the day.
“It has fulfilled and exceeded all expectations we had because the original drawings weren’t that exciting, now it is excellent.”
Mechanical engineering apprentices Alex Nicholson, Daniel Harper, Matthew Goulding, James Dixon, Conor Watson, Liam Machan, Lewis James, Curtis Lowes, Connor Bone, Scot Ellis, and James Newton were proud as punch of the plaque which they made from scratch.
Scot said: “We’re all very proud and it was nice to see it get unveiled. In 20 years time it will still be there, and we’ll be able to say that we made that.”