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School honours 40-year dedication of chair of governors



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The Arnewood School has named its newly refurbished building after its chair of governors, Elizabeth Cook
The Arnewood School has named its newly refurbished building after its chair of governors, Elizabeth Cook

A RECENTLY refurbished block at New Milton’s Arnewood School has been named in honour of the chair of governors who has served it for more than four decades.

Elizabeth Cook has been in her role since 1978, having joined the board of governors four years previously.

At the unveiling of a special plaque, headteacher Nigel Pressnell said: “Elizabeth has offered over 40 years of service to our school, acting with unstinting dedication to promote and support local families and their children’s education.

“She has acted with selfless commitment leading the school’s governors, and most recently trust directors. She is both a highly respected ambassador for the town and its young people, and a constant guardian of this school.

“We are delighted to recognise this amazing and selfless service by renaming our refurbished building after a remarkable woman.”

Elizabeth Cook with head teacher Nigel Pressnell
Elizabeth Cook with head teacher Nigel Pressnell

This tribute marks the start of a countdown to The Arnewood School’s 50th anniversary.

The school first opened its doors in September 1970 and Mrs Cook has been involved with Arnewood since its early days.

In her time she has worked with four headteachers and seen dozens of secretaries of state for education come and go.

Highlights of her time at Arnewood include overseeing the change of the school’s status to grant-maintained, seeing generations of the same families go through, replacing outdated temporary buildings with a new permanent block and celebrating the achievements of hundreds of students through the years.

Most recently it was the unveiling of the £2.5m overhaul of Arnewood’s main school block, now known as the Elizabeth Cook Building.

The refurbishment, paid for by a government grant, saw the 1970s building stripped bare apart from its structural walls and replaced with an improved, more environmentally friendly façade, ceiling and windows.

Away from her work as a school governor, Mrs Cook was also instrumental in setting up the Phoenix Youth Centre, was once chair of the New Milton Ladies Circle and has taken part in many local fundraising events – including making refreshments for New Milton carnival.

She was also the recipient of an Oakhaven Woman of our Time award for her community work.

She said: “I never dreamt the school would name the building after me, I was completely taken aback and humbled.

“The remodelling would not have been possible without the hard work and determination of so many people, and the staff and students must be thanked for their co-operation during the year.

“It’s on their behalf that I am honoured to have my name on a building which is now both pleasing to look at and work in. We have a new building which befits a school of the high quality which is The Arnewood School.”



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