A NEW college building has been officially blessed as the community remembered two senior leaders and a student whose lives were claimed too young.
Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle Rt Rev Seamus Cunningham opened and blessed the buildings at a special ceremony at Carmel College, Darlington.
The £1m science, maths and music block will boost learning at the College.
Rooms were dedicated to biology teacher, pastoral leader and head of Years 10 and 11 Brian Hunter and student Joseph Mercer, 15, and a plaque blessed in memory of former head of sixth form Colm Doyle, whose lives were all claimed by cancer.
The Bishop said: “We give thanks for these new buildings and honour Colm, Brian and Joseph, who were much loved members of this community.”
Chief executive of the Carmel Education Trust Maura Regan added: “Colm Doyle, too young, Brian Hunter, too young and Joseph Mercer, too young. But we must also celebrate that there is something beyond the cycle of life and death.”
Chair of the board Cyndi Hughes said the new facility would be a lasting memory to much cherished members of the community, while head of school Mike Shorten added: “This will make a huge difference to learning, particularly maths, science and music. I think students will love it.”
The two-storey block, built at a cost of more than £1m, features science labs, common room and music technology suites for visual and audio mixing and editing.
Bishop Cunningham also blessed a plaque in the chapel remembering Mr Doyle for his service to the annual Lourdes Pilgrimage, which he helped organise for 20 years. His wife Margaret and daughter Elizabeth attended the ceremony.
Mr Hunter was a biology teacher and pastoral leader at Carmel for 33 years until his retirement in 2008.
Among his biology students, Mr Hunter inspired a real interest in the subject and an abiding passion in the large number who went on to become professional biologists, from doctors to tree surgeons, cancer researchers to biology teachers.
His son Andrew said: “The new block is wonderful and he would have loved it. It will be inspirational for the children.”
Jo and Les Mercer also attended the event witnessing the official blessing of a new music room named in honour of Joseph, a keen and accomplished cornet and trumpet player and pianist.
“We are very proud of him,” said Mr Mercer. “He loved the school, the teachers and his friends and he would have been amazed at having a music room named after him and blessed by the Bishop.”