A FORMER school in North Yorkshire will be given a new lease of life as a community, small business and skills training centre after hitting a lottery jackpot.

The Big Lottery Fund has awarded a grant of £223,210 towards the project to restore Sherburn’s Old Girls’ School in Sherburn-in-Elmet.

Almost £95,000 will be used to complete extensive internal refurbishment while the remaining funds will help meet the costs of employing a centre manager and caretaker.

Paul Doherty, chair of the Sherburn in Elmet Community Trust, said the total cost of converting the imposing building would be £193,000.

“The Friends of the Old Girls’ School have managed to raise £33,000 of this, with valued support from local residents, businesses and other grants,” he said.

Selby District Council gave generous support and North Yorkshire County Council agreed to lease the building to the community at a low, ‘peppercorn’ rent.”

He said Sherburn was growing rapidly and thanks to the ‘fantastic’ lottery grant, coupled with support from local residents, businesses and the councils, an invaluable community facility could be created.

“At the same time we are preserving and giving a new lease of life to one of Sherburn’s most historic buildings, which might otherwise have been demolished.”

More than 40 former pupils and Friends of the School gathered to celebrate news of the grant, including Myrtle Hall and Alma Hodgson, and Ken Knowles, who attended the school - which had young male pupils as well as girls - in 1940 and his wife Dorothy, who was a dinner lady there.

He said: “I’ve seen some unbelievable changes in Sherburn but it’s great to know that we will be able to keep this wonderful old building.”

Cllr David Buckle, a Selby District Councillor, said: “As a former pupil I think it’s excellent that this historic building will provide extra facilities for our growing community.”

*For further information, phone trust chair Paul Doherty on 01977 684666.