Memorial to mark Heanor school blaze

heanor gate school new memorial .
heanor gate school new memorial .

A MONUMENT has been placed on the site of a fire which gutted a Heanor Gate Science College building a year ago.

At 5.50am on February 23, 2010, a blaze at the school destroyed a block of technology classrooms containing vital GCSE, BTEC and A-level coursework.

A total of 55 firemen fought the fire, which was caused by an electrical fault in the building. It caused £130,000 worth of damage and a replacement block is expected to cost 1.4million when it is built next year.

Virtually nothing could be salvaged from the remains.

This week a memorial has been put up at the site of the devastation.

A group of 22 youngsters from the school helped to make the design, which was carved by sculptor Simon Kent.

Head of art and technology at the school Tracey Moseley said: “I had been in touch with the artist Simon Kent to produce a piece and he came in for two days on January 17 and 18.

We asked the pupils to put all their ideas in a giant box and we looked at everybody’s. A lot of the ideas were combined together to create the piece.

“We then let them go out in groups of five to draw their designs on the actual wood for Simon to carve.

“All of the pupils have worked so hard on the project and were even willing to give up their lunch hour.”

School photography teacher Verity Bartram lost years of her students coursework, her own portfolio and even her wedding dress in the fire a year ago, as she was lending it to a student to model for a shoot.

She said: “When I saw the fire I remember thinking 15 years of work gone. There was just nothing left.”

AS-level student, Thomas Warne, 17, from Kirkley Drive, Heanor, lost both his GCSE photography and his Art BTEC coursework in the blaze.

He remembers seeing the fire from his bedroom window, and said: “I was gutted. I didn’t know what was going on at first, I thought it must be one of the cooking blocks, but then I saw my art teacher walk by looking at the floor and I realised something bad had happened.”

Head teacher Rob Howard congratulated the students for their work on the monument, which shows new shoots growing from the ground. He said it is a way for the children to remember what happened a year ago as well as symbolising a bright future.

He added: “Emotionally for some people it was tough. It’s hard to see everything you’ve worked for disappear.”