Friday 9th October 2009 by C. Freeman
Brooke Weston's new Arts and Media block was officially opened by guest of honour, Hugh de Capell Brooke, after whom the wing is named. Mr de Capell Brooke was the first sponsor of Brooke Weston nearly two decades ago and so it was fitting to name the most recent addition to the building after him.
Guests were given a tour of the building before they were welcomed by Executive Principal Peter Simpson and Professor Trevor Kerry, Chair of Governors who said: 'As governors we had always been excited to watch this building taking shape and the way in which it's going to stretch the school, its curriculum and the experience of the young people who come here. One of the great things that Hugh brought to Brooke Weston with others, was the concept that people … could be helped on a course which gave them life chances beyond their wildest dreams. It takes that kind of initiative from third parties to provide those opportunities. I know that he is extremely committed to the whole concept of excellence, particularly academic excellence and I've always been most impressed that … he epitomises the ideals that he brings and…he has a deep and very heartfelt commitment. It's not just about academic high flyers; it's also about people whose work is going to be vocational and about providing the vocational best for those people. It's out of those kinds of concerns that this building has arisen.'
He introduced Mr George Weston, Chair of Trustees who said: 'Hugh … this school wouldn't be here if it hadn't been for you, not least, but not only, because we sit on the land that you donated for this purpose. It was an act of great perspicacity and great generosity and thousands of boys and girls who have come through this school, and many hundreds of teachers who trained and have their careers at this school have a huge amount to thank you for. In your role as governor, trustee and friend of the school you have brought a great deal of wisdom and a great deal of enthusiasm to us all. It's a mark of your quality that you have also derived so much satisfaction from the success of the school.'
Mr and Mrs de Capell Brooke after the ceremony.
Mr de Capell Brooke then unveiled the plaque before giving a five-minute speech to the assembled guests where he reflected on the formation of the school nearly 20 years ago. He praised the new facilities, and extolled in particular the importance of the music facilities to young people before rounding off with 'This is a tremendous addition to the College as a whole.'
Student Gianluca Messore-Greenaway presented Mrs Bianca de Capell Brooke with a bouquet while Imogen Mann spoke of her experiences at Brooke Weston: 'Having studied here for five years I have always been amazed and also proud of the facilities that we have here. However nothing has had such an impact on school life as the Hugh de Capell Brooke Creative Arts and Media Centre. With its revolutionary design the future of Brooke Weston's art and media curriculum have been secured.'
She also thanked the architects and Jeakins Weir who built the extension, particularly John McHarg the project manager, as well as the Buildings Managers at Brooke Weston for preparing the facilities in time for the start of this academic year.
She finished by saying: 'Special thanks go to our sponsors, the de Capell Brooke family and the Weston family for their continued support. The Hugh de Capell Brooke Arts and Media Centre is a fitting and lasting tribute to the de Capell Brooke family.'
Principal, Trish Stringer said: 'The Hugh de Capell Brooke Arts and Media Centre is a tremendous addition to the facilities we already enjoy at Brooke Weston. The students are already making good use of the extra space and enhanced curriculum that we can now offer, and to have Hugh here to open it was excellent as Brooke Weston has benefited so much from his support and vision over the years.'