A New Forest school has made a touching tribute to its Chair of Governors who has served it for more than 40 years.
The Arnewood School in New Milton has renamed its newly refurbished school block the Elizabeth Cook building.
Elizabeth has served the school as a governor since 1974 and been its Chair of Governors since 1978.
At the unveiling of a special plaque, headteacher Nigel Pressnell, said: “Elizabeth has offered over 40 years of service to our school, acting with unstinting dedication to promote and support local families and their children’s education.
“She has acted with selfless commitment leading the school’s governors and most recently trust directors. She is both a highly respected ambassador for the town and its young people and a constant guardian of this school.
“We are delighted to recognise this amazing and selfless service by renaming our refurbished building after a remarkable woman.”
This tribute marks the start of a major countdown to The Arnewood School’s 50th anniversary.
The school first opened its doors in September 1970 and Elizabeth Cook has been involved with Arnewood since the early days.
In her time she has worked with four headteachers and seen dozens of Secretaries of State for Education come and go.
Her highlights of her time at Arnewood has included overseeing the change of the school’s status to Grant Maintained, seeing generations of the same family go through Arnewood, replacing outdated temporary buildings with a new permanent block and celebrating hundreds of achievements of students through the years.
And most recently it was the unveiling of the £2.5million overhaul of Arnewood’s main school block.
The refurbishment, paid for by a government grant, saw the 1970s building stripped bare apart from its main structural walls and replaced with an improved, more environmentally friendly façade, ceiling and windows.
Away from her work as a school governor Elizabeth was also instrumental in setting up the Phoenix Youth Centre, was once chair of the New Milton Ladies Circle and has taken part in many local fundraising events – including making refreshments for New Milton Carnival.
Elizabeth, who was also previously awarded a ‘woman of our time’ award for her community work, said: “I never dreamt the school would name the building after me, I was completely taken aback and humbled.
“The remodelling would not have been possible without the hard work and determination of so many people and the staff and students must be thanked for their co-operation during the year.
“It’s on their behalf that I am honoured to have my name on a building which is now both pleasing to look at and work in. We have a new building which befits a school of the high quality which is The Arnewood School.”
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