Students past and present have kicked off a Northumberland Academy’s inaugural alumni event.
More than 60 former students of Bede Academy, Blyth, returned to their old school to compete against the current team of sixth form footballers.
Alongside staging the friendly 11-a-side game Bede Academy also hosted an evening dinner, in the main school hall, to welcome back its ex-pupils.
Assistant vice-principal and head of sixth form Alan Corner said: “This is the very first invitation we have extended to our alumni and we are incredibly pleased to see so many of them return.
“It means such a lot to us that they have given up their free time and even taken time off work to come back to Bede for this inaugural event.
“Because we are still a relatively new school we don’t have that many alumni members as yet but as the numbers grow over the years we hope to see more and more students return to us each year.”
Captain of Bede’s sixth form squad Liam McNally, 18, helped the academy team take a 3-0 lead in the first half of the game, after scoring twice, following an opening goal by Robbie Mitchelson, 18.
Half-time gave alumni captain Josh Harvey, 20, time to re-organise his players but they could not stop William Swindell, 18, who added a fourth goal for the academy team before a late surge from the alumni squad brought a consolation goal for Ryan Chipperfield, giving a final score of 4-1.
“It’s been great to come back to Bede Academy,” said Josh, who now works for an engineering firm in Wallsend.
“I left in 2013 but it doesn’t feel any time at all since I was a student here.
“It’s been especially good to catch up with a few people who I haven’t seen for a while and to see some of my old teachers.”
The evening dinner, prepared by the academy catering team, included an inspirational talk on social enterprise and coping with adversity from Gav Humphries, of Punch Drunk Comedy, before the alumni viewed videos, pictures and press cuttings from their days at Bede, as well as completing quizzes about former staff.
Former student Joe Woods, 19, who was the first student from Bede Academy to gain a place at an Oxbridge University, added: “It has been quite nostalgic coming back here to Bede Academy.
“I have a lot of fantastic memories, especially playing football here.
“Bede Academy provided us all with a solid foundation and it’s good to know that we will always be welcomed back.”