Former pupil undertakes restoration work at his school 50 years after leaving

50 years after leaving Hexham Middle School, Keith Sherwin, a project manager at Hodgson Sayers, is gaining top marks for a roofing project he is coordinating at the site.

A contract on the Grade II listed building, to fully replicate its original features, is underway by the building and roofing specialist and is led by Keith, who attended the school for seven years from 1964 to 1971. New roofing was needed on both the main Fellside building and its canteen.

Keith said: “To return to the school was a great experience for me and I am very proud to work on the project. When I found out that we were tendering and then had won the project, I couldn’t wait to get involved.

“I am from Hexham and my two daughters also went to the school. I have great memories from my time there and physically it has not changed much since my daughters finished their education, hence the need for the repairs!

“The Fellside building is Grade II listed and it has been a real privilege to work on it, to ensure its longevity so that future generations can benefit.”

Hodgson Sayers has established a reputation for both its sensitivity to – and quality of work on – a vast range of listed and heritage buildings across the north of England, including Wray Castle, Cumbria, Belsay Hall, Northumberland and Minsteracres Retreat Centre, County Durham.

John Sayers, managing director at Hodgson Sayers, said: “Listed buildings are both exciting to work on and challenging at the same time, in that there are very strict rules to follow. We are also very much aware we are restoring buildings that have great historical links to the region and with which people have a strong affinity and affection, none more so than Keith with the work he is undertaking at Hexham Middle School. It is a big responsibility.”

Hodgson Sayers replaced the existing clay plain tiles on a like-for-like basis and installed counter battens, membranes and laths before putting the tiles back in place. Its specialist roofers then successfully replaced the roof to the canteen with a Garland felt system.

During the project, the company liaised closely with the school to avoid any disruption and members of its team addressed two school assemblies to inform pupils about the work being undertaken.

Sarah Sparke, business manager at Hexham Middle School, said: “We were thrilled when the company offered to inform the pupils about the project. This was an exciting way for them to learn and the work itself has been carried out to an excellent standard.”

Multi-award winning Hodgson Sayers offers specialist skills in roofing, building works, fencing and metalwork fabrication.

In 2015 the company won the SME award at the Constructing Excellence Awards in London. This was followed by UK Business of the Year and the People Development Award at the British Chambers of Commerce national final.

For the last three years in a row it has been listed in the London Stock Exchange Group 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

In 2017 it was listed as one of 12 companies from the North East in the Financial Times 1000 Fastest Growing Companies in Europe.