Royal visitor helps Bede celebrate

An academy marked its tenth anniversary by welcoming a Royal visitor.

Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 14:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 14:15 pm
Chloe Forrester, right, enjoys a few words with the Earl of Wessex watched by Year 1 friends Charlie-Mae Milburn and Betsy Carr.

The Earl of Wessex arrived at Bede Academy in Blyth on Friday, to be greeted by the entire primary years, staff past and present, MP Ronnie Campbell, the Chief Constable and civic dignitaries.

The academy’s founding principal Gwyneth Evans, who left last year, returned to receive the special guest, with acting head of secondary years Julie Roberts, principal of primary years Bethan Harding and the academy’s new principal of secondary years Andrew Thelwell on only his fourth day in the job.

At a whole school assembly, Miss Evans said: “It is an honour and a privilege to have the Earl of Wessex join us for our tenth anniversary celebration.”

Looking back over the last 10 years, during which time the academy has educated and nurtured 3,450 students, she added: “Since opening in 2009, Bede Academy has been developing excellence in student character, academic excellence and excellence in community service underpinned by a Christian ethos.

“It has been an absolute privilege to see students develop confidence, grow in character, realise their potential and aspire to great things in the service of others, contributing to local, national and international communities with their talents and gifts.”

After thanking the staff and students, the Earl encouraged them to continue with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which was established by his father in 1956.

He said: “It should be fun. It presents lots of challenges and if you can overcome those challenges it makes you a more confident person and prepares you for later life.

“Not everything in life is laid out in a straight line; occasionally a door opens and an opportunity is presented.

“Have you the confidence to go through that door and go in a direction you weren’t expecting to?

“Life presents hurdles and you have to have the confidence and knowledge ability to overcome them; you have a good staff and team here to guide and mentor you.”

Earlier, he spoke to students from Bede Academy and other local primary schools who showed him their engineering work, secondary years’ artists and musicians and current students and alumni who have been doing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

He also spent some time with local residents, who are invited into Bede Academy each term for tea and social time, and to listen to the primary choir.

He was later entertained by music from the orchestra and cantata choir.

Resident Edna Graham said: “The academy has a good connection with the Central Methodist Church in Blyth, and we come quite often. They feed us and look after us very well.

“They have a very good music department here and children in this area who lean towards music are very lucky to have this school.”