THERE was good reason to celebrate back in 1993 when a Furness secondary school started a new era on a single site.

An official opening ceremony was held at Sandy Gap Lane, Walney, in March 1993 to mark the move of all pupils from the second site at Ocean Road.

It also provided an opportunity for the school to forge closer links with the Royal Navy.

The Mail, on March 4, noted: "Walney School is looking to adopt the Royal Navy's new minesweeper HMS Walney as its own.

"Headteacher Stan Aspinall put the unusual request to the captain of the ship, Lieutenant Commander Nick Stanley, at the official opening  of the school's redeveloped site.

"Pupils at the school would then send letters to sailors aboard the ship and, as far as security restrictions allow, track its progress around the globe, said Mr Aspinall.

"Lt Cdr Stanley was at the official opening of the school's new single site on Sandy Gap Lane following the closure of the school on Ocean Road.

"The captain was among several distinguished guests at the opening, including Barrow's mayor Joyce Fleet  and MP John Hutton.

"The original Walney school, on Ocean Road, had well-established links with  the navy.

"All the school houses are named after submarines.

"Mr Aspinall said he hoped the navy would allow the school to adopt the minesweeper to carry on the tradition.

"He said it would be a fitting honour now the school's £1m redevelopment was complete."

He said: "We now have a tremendous facility which has almost doubled the size of the school."

The new extension included English rooms, a computer area, three laboratories and a library.

The Mail, on December 2 in 1992, noted that there was to be a January reunion of former pupils at the old Walney County Secondary School, on Ocean Road, before demolition started in February.

By 1992, the building was 75 years old and had served as the Ocean Road Annexe for pupils aged 11 to 13.

Boys and girls were taught in separate parts of the building when the doors opened for the first time in 1917 - it even had two playgrounds.

The article noted: "After demolition, the site will be grassed over and used as a play area by the adjacent South Walney Junior School."