BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham to officially open new £18million Hartlepool school site

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TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham is due to visit Hartlepool to give an inspirational talk to students and officially open a school’s £18million new building.

The host of BBC’s Springwatch series will officially open High Tunstall College of Science’s new state-of-the-art building.

He will be the keynote speaker at High Tunstall’s fifth annual STEM lecture on Tuesday, March 24, as part of the school’s dedication to the promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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The focus of the lecture, which will also be attended by students from other Hartlepool schools, will be Chris’s memoirs ‘Fingers in the Sparkle Jar,’ which was recently voted Britain’s favourite piece of nature writing.

Professor Lord Robert Winston delivered High Tunstall's STEM lecture in 2016. Picture by FRANK REIDProfessor Lord Robert Winston delivered High Tunstall's STEM lecture in 2016. Picture by FRANK REID
Professor Lord Robert Winston delivered High Tunstall's STEM lecture in 2016. Picture by FRANK REID | JPIMedia

High Tunstall headteacher Mark Tilling said: “The STEM lectures were conceived because we want our students to be inspired by internationally renowned scientists, engineers and celebrities. Encouraging them to pursue their dreams despite the difficulties they may face.

“We’re bringing these aspirational speakers to the North and putting Hartlepool on the map. Our young people need to be inspired to succeed and work in the region.”

Packham is the latest high profile speaker High Tunstall has secured for its annual lecture. Speakers in previous years have included the first British astronaut Helen Sharman, renowned professor Lord Robert Winston and Dave Coplin, the Chief Envisioning Officer for Microsoft UK.

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Over 100 trees will be planted at High Tunstall school in two days of activities planned around the event.

Chris Packham is due to open High Tunstall College of Science's new £18m site and deliver this year's annual lecture.Chris Packham is due to open High Tunstall College of Science's new £18m site and deliver this year's annual lecture.
Chris Packham is due to open High Tunstall College of Science's new £18m site and deliver this year's annual lecture. | Other 3rd Party

Mr Tilling also praised Packham for helping to raise understanding of Asperger’s Syndrome which he has.

He said: “We have an autistic unit at High Tunstall and want to raise our students’ aspirations, showing them what they can achieve. Nothing should hold them back.

“Having someone like Chris Packham, who has been so vocal about his own experiences with Asperger’s, is a great way to encourage our students.”

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High Tunstall’s new building opened last November and is built around a central ‘heart’ containing a special needs units and open plan dining area.

It also includes 10 science rooms, demonstration laboratories and a high quality theatre and dance studio.