Powerstock School rises from the ashes following devastating fire (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Powerstock School rises from the ashes following devastating fire
Powerstock School pupils opened an early Christmas present today - their new school.
The children lined up with the Bishop of Salisbury to cut the red ribbon marking the reopening of the village school which was gutted in a major fire two years ago.
Headteacher Jean-Paul Draper rang the original Victorian school bell to signal the opening of the building which features modern facilities and an additional classroom.
“It feels like Christmas,” Mr Draper told pupils, staff, parents and villagers who crowded in to the playground for the event.
“I have an enormous Christmas present here but it is one that we can open a little early.
“I feel honoured and humble to stand by these doors where hundreds of people have stood on these steps.”
Chairman of governors Dr John Davies paid tribute to the 'bravery and brilliance' of the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, for their efforts to save the building.
“This is a special day. We had another special day two years ago, for very different reasons” he recalled.
“I watched this building being engulfed in fire and it was not a pretty sight. It was a scene I shall never forget.
“But despite that horrific scene, curiously enough, it was not a disaster.
“It provided a golden opportunity to improve the environment for everyone here.
“We wanted to take this glorious 19th century building and transform it into a workplace fit for purpose for the 21st century.
“The phoenix really has risen from the ashes. We now have one of, if not the best, primary school in Dorset.”
Dr Davies also paid tribute to Mr Draper, his staff, parents and pupils and thanked the Powerstock Hut committee for allowing the school to use the hall's facilities as well as the Salisbury Diocese and local fundraisers who helped find the money for the additional costs involved in the rebuild.
After the Bishop, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, blessed the building and unveiled a plaque to be placed in the entrance foyer, the children were the first to be allowed in to the building to discover their new classrooms.
The afternoon's events began with a service in the village church led by the Rev Jan Delaney.
The pupils sang two songs written for the occasion and afterwards Bishop Nicholas led pupils along the lane to the school for the official opening.
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