South Shields theatre boss back at old school with words of wisdom for pupils

Ray Spencer reading in the new library at Biddick Hall infant school pupils Andrea (year1) and Sophie (year2). Picture by FRANK REID
Ray Spencer reading in the new library at Biddick Hall infant school pupils Andrea (year1) and Sophie (year2). Picture by FRANK REID

A VIP former pupil had some words of wisdom for youngsters celebrating the opening of their South Shields school’s new library.

Ray Spencer MBE returned to Biddick Hall Infant and Nursery School to officially usher in a new era of learning - 55 years after his first day there.

The new library ay Biddick Hall infant school. Picture by FRANK REID

The new library ay Biddick Hall infant school. Picture by FRANK REID

The Customs House’s executive director said he was delighted to let the latest generation of pupils know the importance of reading to their journey through life.

Of the £15,000 spend on redesigning the library space, Ray, 60, said: “There is no better investment a school can make than in books.

“From books, you can find out anything that you need to know about in the world.

“If you want to be anything or see anything, learning through books is the thing to do.

“It’s a terrific honour to be asked back 55 years later, I’m really excited to be able to see the school again.

“In my time, there was no proper space for the library, it was just books on portable shelves.

“Today, the school has a real vibrancy about it and it is very engaged with the community.”

Headteacher Andrea Willis, herself a pupil at the school between 1970 and 1972, said she wanted the library to become a focal point of learning.

To do, significant investment was also found to buy new non-fiction books.

Mrs Willis said this would fire the imagination of the school’s 237 three to seven-year-old pupils, and develop their research skills.

She added: “The library used to be sited in a room behind closed doors, but we wanted to raise its profile so that it was at the heart of the school’s environment.

“We want to keep the profile of reading high, and so we have redesigned the space. It’s fantastic that we are moving forward in this way.

“We want to promote a life-long love of reading to our children at a very early age, as that is something that is very important.

“It was great to have Ray back to officially open our new library and to talk to the children.”

The library, which was redesigned by the Birmingham-based BookSpace company. forms part of investment in facilities at the Galsworthy Road school.

During the summer holidays, all classrooms were refurbished and fitted with state-of-the-art C-Touch interactive screens, and new flooring laid.

After opening the library, Ray joined parents and pupils on a tour of the school.