18 September 2017

Priory invited its former long-serving PE teachers to open the new £50,000 gym refurbishment on Thursday after an unforeseen postponement in July.

Kate and Dave Rhodes were both one-school teachers who met at Priory.  Kate worked at Priory from 1971 before retiring in 2004, while Dave was there from 1976-2010.  Both returned to open the state-of-the-art gym this week at the invitation of Headteacher Mr Eastham, who started his career at Priory in the PE department under Kate and Dave’s guidance.

“Both Kate and I only taught at one school and we have great memories of our time at Priory,” said Dave.  “We have a lot of good feelings for the school and this gym was a big part of our lives.  It was back in 1953 when the gym was built and 1976 saw the link up with the leisure centre, something which was unique for a school at the time, and now it’s been upgraded again. It’s a new era for Priory and the school is in good hands.”

Students who Dave mentioned coming through Priory included Olympic gymnast Susan Cheesebrough and Amy Forshaw, an age group champion in the triathlon. 

Gone are the old wooden bars – they have been turned into planters for Priory’s experienced gardener Chris Farron to utilise – and the ropes and beams. They have been replaced, in the last six months, by new windows, a new floor with the Priory logo built into it and new equipment.

“We have continued a tradition at Priory where we asked people to return who have a connection with the school and who it means a lot to,” said Mr Eastham.  “They were my mentors when I was at Priory and are important in Priory’s history.”

Staff, governors and guests were treated to a sports-themed afternoon tea and fruit punch served by pupils Libby Taylor, Olivia Tomlinson and Brook Hendrickson-Flynn.  Music was provided on the piano by Luci Florea and Joel Gardner.

There are to be further new developments at Priory with work on a new £1.4m IT suite, replacing the old ROSLA block, to be started shortly.