Olympian Iwan Thomas was back on home turf when he opened the new £8 million Godmanchester Bridge Academy.

The opening of the Godmanchester Bridge Academy. Picture: ARCHANTThe opening of the Godmanchester Bridge Academy. Picture: ARCHANT

The former sprinter, now a TV presenter, grew up in Godmanchester and was a pupil at the academy’s sister school.

The European and Commonwealth Games champion cut the ribbon to declare the school open and said: “It was an honour to be invited here. It is particularly nice to be asked because my godson goes here.”

Iwan said he came back to Godmanchester two or three times a year because his parents still lived locally.

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly and Godmanchester mayor, Councillor Sarah Conboy, took part in the ceremony - along with pupils who put on displays, including a giant picture of the town’s Chinese Bridge.

Rod Warsap, executive head teacher, said: “We are very pleased to be open and we feel we have got a fantastic asset for the community.”

Mr Djanogly praised the new school’s facilities and said there was a need for more infrastructure to meet growing demand in the area.

“People want to come to the area and we need lots more of everything in addition to schools,” he said.

Cllr Conboy added: “It is even better than we expected. I think it is better than any of us dared to hope.”

The new school was built to serve the 750 new houses being constructed at Bearscroft and is the first proper home for the academy which first opened its doors to pupils in September 2016 when it had just eight children on its books and used a mobile classroom.

The Bridge Academy, which is linked to Godmanchester Community Academy, now has 70 pupils and will be able to hold up to 420 when the development 
is complete.

It has 14 classrooms and just three classes using them at present.

Pupils used a nursery building on the site until the school, which is on three levels with pitches, outdoor facilities and the teaching wing with a sedum roof at the bottom, was complete.

The school was built by Kier Construction Eastern.

Dennis Cotton, Kier operations director, said: “We are thrilled with the reception to the new Godmanchester Bridge Academy. We hope residents of the Bearscroft development and wider community will enjoy the teaching facilities and all that Godmanchester Bridge Academy has to offer for many years to come.”