FORMER parents and students at a secondary school in York have visited it for the last time before its closure.

Burnholme Community College, which has only 71 pupils, held an open day as a 'last hurrah' for its past and present pupils and staff, before a phased closure is completed this week. The remaining Year 9s have gone to new schools, and the Year 11 students have completed their final exams.

Cathi Shepherd, business manager of the school, said the open day was a great success, while being both a happy and sad event.

She said: "We had more than 700 people turn up which is absolutely brilliant. We didn't know what to expect to be honest because you advertise these things and you're not sure how many will turn up.

"It was a mixture of emotions. A lot of people had happy memories and there was a lot of laughing, and I think the more recent students and current staff have found some bits quite upsetting, now it's finally here and it's hit us that it's finally closed now."

The closure of the school was announced by City of York Council in 2012, despite protests from the local community, and the closure has been phased gradually since then.

A balloon release was held at 1pmon Saturday to commemorate the closure of the school, which will see most of its remaining resources donated to schools in Uganda, and speeches were made by school governors and deputy head Malcolm Downie, who has been at the school for 29 years.

Cathi said: "He said he was absolutely blown away by the turnout and how many people he recognised. I think it could have gone on all day, if we were allowed.

"It's the end of an era. Very sad, but a nice send-off and the memories carry on and hopefully people will take them with them."