Middlesbrough: Mass at school which has 'risen from the ashes'

Bishop Terence Drainey, of Middlesbrough, celebrated a special Mass at St Mary's Primary School, Grangetown, Middlesbrough last Thursday to re-dedicate the blaze-hit school which has "risen from the ashes" with a £900,000 refurbishment.

Last October the school suffered an arson attack, forcing the 145 children into temporary accommodation, provided by St Andrew's RC Church Hall in Eston, and, at one stage, raising fears that the school may have to be demolished.

But major rebuilding work, co-ordinated by the Middlesbrough diocese, allowed the children to return to the school in Tennyson Avenue, Grangetown, in January, along with newly-appointed headteacher Mrs Chris Ruddy. Now the second and final phase of refurbishment has been completed.

Bishop Drainey said:"It's good to return to do the celebration Mass with the school and community in such an excellently refurbished building."

The work has been one of the biggest refurbishment projects carried out by the diocese, co-ordinated by its buildings manager Sharon Westcough. It involved almost 50 per cent of the school, including the hall, main entrance and reception area, staffroom and three classrooms.

Mrs Ruddy said: "Up until Christmas most of our children were being taught at St Andrew's Hall with our Foundation Stage children kindly being housed at Grangetown Primary School.

"It was a great delight to be reunited back home in Tennyson Avenue, where we have gone from strength to strength. We pay tribute to the overwhelming support and generous donations from parents, neighbours, local businesses, schools and the parish of St Andrew's."

"We have indeed risen from the ashes and are proud of our children's achievements, despite our difficult circumstances. We now look to the future with optimism and will endeavour to strive for academic excellence and the well being of all our children."

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