Over the last half a century Helston Community College's upper school has seen tens of thousands of students walk its corridors, but that is about to come to an end.

As of September students will be moving into a £17 million purpose-built school building elsewhere on the grounds, leaving only the echoes of three generations of footsteps - until they too disappear when the buildings are demolished, to make way for playing fields.

Before then, however, there will be a chance for past students and teachers from the last 59 years to say their last goodbyes at an informal opening evening this Friday.

There will be no speeches, just the chance to revisit the different rooms and share memories over a drink, between 6pm and 8.30pm.

Some of the students will provide music during the first hour, with a local brass band playing during the second hour.

There will even be the opportunity for people to buy a piece of history, as a memento of their school days - whether that is the door number of their old tutor room, or even a piece of science equipment no longer needed, although some of the more historic pieces such as anniversary plaques will be offered to Helston's Museum of Cornish Life.

Memorial plaques and plants will be transferred to a new memorial garden that will be created.

It is hoped that people visiting on Friday will also leave a donation if able, as while the government is funding the new-build, it covers just the shell only, with all the furniture and equipment - aside from the fitted science and cookery rooms - having to be transferred from the old buildings, some of which needs replacing.

Donna Bryant, headteacher between 2014 and 2017 and now still based at the school as chief executive officer of the over-arching Southerly Point Co-operative Multi Academy Trust, urged people to remember what the school had given to them over the years, and said: "Please come with your loose change and support it going forward."

Falmouth Packet:

Donna Bryant, CEO of the multi academy trust, in front of the old building being demolished

She added that she would also love to hear from any landscape gardeners willing to offer their services to help design the memorial garden, as their contribution to a community school.

The north site buildings began life as Gwealhellis County Secondary School, which opened to students on January 12, 1960 with Leslie Cockram as headteacher, Roy Pascoe as deputy head and Betty Thomas (later Pascoe) as senior mistress.

It ran for 12 years until September 1972 when it merged with Helston Grammar School (now south site) to become a comprehensive school under the headship of Freddie Worrall, with deputies John Thomas, Rex Rule and senior mistress Kate Wedge (later Edmondson).

Mr Worrall retired in 1989 and Dennis Johnson became head until 2003, then Dr Pat McGovern until 2014.

Donna Bryant became the school's first female headteacher that same year and oversaw it becoming a multi academy trust with 18 partner schools in the Helston Lizard area, taking up the CEO role in 2017 when she was succeeded as headteacher by Wayne Jenkins, who has been a staff member at the school for 22 years.

Mrs Bryant said: "There is no doubt that Gwealhellis and Helston Community College have inspired pride and loyalty through successive generations.

"As we close the door on the old Gwealhellis buildings for the last time, we recognise that a rich heritage will resonate into the future as we take up possession of the new building, which we hope will engender the same loyalty and pride in future generations."

The school breaks up for the summer on July 19 and returns on Monday, September 9 in the new building.

Falmouth Packet:

Gwealhellis County Secondary School when it opened in 1960