Brandon centre opened by former school pupil Charlie Wharf

Charlie Wharf recalls his school days as he talks with David Osborne, project manager for Concertus, in the library
Charlie Wharf recalls his school days as he talks with David Osborne, project manager for Concertus, in the library
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Charlie Wharf opened a £1.6 million community hub in the school he went to 82 year ago, and said: “You have made an old Brandon boy happy.”

The 87-year-old went to Brandon Elementary School when he was five years old.

Charlie Wharf and Suffolk County Council deputy leader Cllr Lisa Chambers

Charlie Wharf and Suffolk County Council deputy leader Cllr Lisa Chambers

His parents had also gone to the school, built in 1887.

On Saturday, he cut the ribbon as the former Bury Road school was turned into a new Brandon Centre housing a variety of services under one roof.

“As a young Brandonian I am pleased that this building hasn’t succumbed to the bulldozers and that instead they have created something that is going to be useful to all of the community,” said Charlie.

He was given a tour of the building and regaled how the police communications room has once been his carpentry class, and the safer neighbourhood team report room, a school library.

David Osborne, project manager for Concertus, shows 87-year-old Charlie Wharf, the new outdoor play area for pre-school youngsters.

David Osborne, project manager for Concertus, shows 87-year-old Charlie Wharf, the new outdoor play area for pre-school youngsters.

The former brick layer also praised the quality of work by Seamans builders.

The 18 month project was funded by Suffolk County Council and Forest Heath District Council.

The library has moved from the Brandon Community Centre while the children’s centre which offers health, support, childcare, adult education and other services and information is also in the new building.

The pre-school has moved into a bigger space within the building with a new outside play area.

The Brandon Safer Neighbourhood Team has a base at the centre while Forest Heath District Council has a contact point.

The Brandon Centre will provide a community meeting point, and public toilets during opening hours.

The centre is being managed by the Keystone Development Trust.

Cllr Lisa Chambers, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council said: “This is a real flagship facility for Brandon, bringing back to life and old Victorian primary school.”

David Osborne, project manager for property consultants Concertus, who showed Charlie around the building said: “Hopefully we have left a legacy for Brandon,”

After the tour Charlie told him. “You have made an old Brandon boy happy to know it won’t end up a heap of rubble.”

Library general manager Alison Wheeler said: “We are pleased to be part of this exciting community project and I hope local people will enjoy accessing all the services and activities we have to offer in a modern and attractive new library for Brandon.”