A BISHOP gave his blessing to a new £17m school which has been hailed as “glorious”.
The Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, the Right Reverend Seamus Cunningham, was at St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School and Byron Sixth Form College, to officially launch the new-look school.
Priests from the diocese who are former pupils at the school, including Michael McCoy and David Russell, currently presiding over parishes in Sunderland and Darlington respectively, were also among the guests.
Around 100 people were invited to attend a special mass, in the new school hall, which was followed by a buffet in the “heart space” of the state-of-the-art school, in Westway.
School representatives, governors, former staff and representatives from contractors Carillion attended.
The Bishop blessed a commemorative stone and the whole of the school with holy water.
He said: “I think the school is fantastic, it’s beautiful.
“I came here in the snow a few years ago and laid the foundation stone, then I came back some time later when it was a building site.
“I came back to celebrate mass here and I could not believe the transformation.
“What I really like about it is that the chapel is nicely in the centre as you come through the door.”
He added: “I think it will mean an awful lot to the students’ education, I have met quite a number of them and they are delighted with it.”
The school’s assistant headteacher Geoff Wilson said: “The school is absolutely glorious.
“That’s the only way I can describe it, with first-class facilities for the 21st Century.
“We had a beautiful afternoon, celebrating the beginning of a new chapter.”
Among the new multi-million-pound facilities include the new heart space, hall/lecture theatre, new IT facilities, a state-of-the-art fitness suite and individual “break-out areas” for each year group to have free time.