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A historic school bell has chimed for one last time to mark the opening of a multi-million pound retirement living scheme in Stourport.
Three pupils from the nearby Stourport Primary Academy as well as headteacher Jacqui Elwis rang the bell, which is said to date back decades, to officially open Bromford’s new School Gardens development. The Vernon Road scheme has seen the restoration of the original school building which used to be Tan Lane Infants School from 1897 before later becoming Stourport First School.
Also ringing the bell was Judith Knowles, 93, who moves into School Gardens with her husband Geoffrey, 95, on Monday (2nd July) having attended Tan Lane Infants School as a four-year-old.
“I have some very fond memories coming here as a pupil, we used to play some really good games in the playground and also had an indoor swing. I never thought I’d end up living here all these years later,” the former singing teacher said.
“I have been caught out by the ringing of that bell a few times in the past when walking to school and I was running a little late so to get the chance to ring it today was magnificent.”
New resident Jennifer Taylor has owned the bell since 2016 after buying it at an antiques fair in Worcester and was told when she bought it that it was one of the original bells used at Tan Lane Infants School.
Stourport Mayor Councillor David Little also unveiled a commemorative plaque to signal the culmination of the three-year project which has seen a £10.5m investment in the local area. A summer barbeque party rounded off celebrations on Wednesday 27th June as new residents, local dignitaries and Bromford colleagues came together for the occasion.
Philippa Jones, Bromford’s chief executive, added: “Our vision since day one has been to create a retirement living scheme with a village hall at its heart where people building relationships now drive forward how this community is shaped.
“We are delighted that so many of the local community, including Stourport’s Mayor and the pupils from Stourport Primary Academy, could join us to celebrate the opening of School Gardens and to hear the old school bell ringing one last time was a very fitting acknowledgement of the site’s rich history as it moves on into an exciting new future.”
School Gardens is providing 60 high-quality one and two bedroom apartments for people aged 55 and over and also features a café bistro, lounge, activity studio, gym, hair and beauty salon and landscaped gardens.