The life of an historic city school is set to live on in Africa.
Staff and students at Sunderland High School, which last month closed its doors after 130 years, have embarked on their last mission to help the people at their partner school in Malawi.
Sunderland High School has had a long standing relationship with a community in Nkhotakota and are now packing up all the resourses from the Wearside school buildings to be shipped out in two massive containers to the developing community.
Families and staff at the city school were left devastated by the shock announcement in January that the school, founded in 1884 and housing a rich history, would close.
Jackie Robson, head of sixth form, said once it became evident they couldn’t save the school, they launched a fund-raising drive to find the £8,500 needed to pay for the shipping container to take hundreds of valuable rescources, including desks, chairs, books, uniforms and science equipment, to Malawi.
Hartlepool company, Focus Removals, came on board to help with the packing and were so impressed with the scheme they have decided to donate a second container as there is so much to send.
Our school will go on in some wayJackie Robson
And, Jackie said the support they have had from the Sunderland community, including the Lions Club, has been amazing.
She said: “I couldn’t sleep at night thinking of all the fantastic resourses going to landfill.
“Everyone was so upset about the closure, but once we told them about the project it really lifted the mood and everyone got on board to help.
“It has given us something positive and taken away some of the pain knowing that our school will go on in some way. We are hoping they will start up our house system and are sending the house shields.
“The communities out there have nothing and these rescources will be truly valued.”
There are so many rescourses a small group of people in Malawi has been set up to ensure they are fairly distributed to the secondary school, primary schools and other organisations, such as the orphanage and hospital.
Former scholars at Sunderland High School include television journalist, Kate Adie, the late Denise Robertson, and the only person in Sunderland to earn a Victoria Cross, George Maling, who lived in Carlton House and whose official blue plaque is there for all to see.
United Church Schools Trust, which owns Sunderland High School, blamed the decision to close on falling pupil numbers, from 580 to less than 290 in 10 years.