Brannock High School in Newarthill near Motherwell in Scotland was the destination for GAU on the 21stMay. It was not the nicest of days when we set off.
Newarthill and the other surrounding villages of Motherwell suffered terribly with the closing of the famous Ravenscraig Steel Mill. Ravenscraig was the heart and soul of British steel. Many of the students from the schools surrounding Ravenscraig went straight in to the mills to work. When the mill closed thousands lost their jobs. The area was devastated and went into decline.
Although I did not have a great deal of time in Motherwell or Newarthill, I did see many smiling faces and a sense of recovery. At the café I stopped at I chatted with locals who were warm and friendly.
The school was all ready for my arrival and we set up very quickly. The students were impeccably behaved as they all sat down. Then it was time for the first of the GAU presentations. It went very well indeed, and all of the students were engaged and interested. At the end during the Q&A session I was asked what my favourite word was? It was not a question I have ever had before. My answer was “Fighting” fighting against the hatred of the extremists, the terrorists, and all who would divide us. Again, as the first the second presentation went down very well and Brannock HS was well represented by the students.
As I said earlier this area went into decline after the mills closed. Yes, the area like so many across the country has its problems, we all do. However, I saw such talent, determination and spirit in the students of Brannock. They are a credit to themselves and to the school.