SOME of the thousands of former pupils and hundreds of former teachers bid farewell to Unsworth’s Castlebrook High School last week, before it is demolished.

The school opened its doors for the last time so they could take a stroll down memory lane and for most of them it was the first time they had been in there since they left.

The visit was particularly poignant for John and Jane Cohen. They met each other at school and were each other’s first sweethearts when they began going out with each other in 1978.

After dating for three years, they went their separate ways but in 2000 they met up again and have been happily married for the past four years.

They had their first ever kiss on the school’s staircase and, revisiting the scene for the first time in 41 years, the couple couldn’t resist recreating it.

The school was also responsible for the lifelong friendship of Lisa Schofield (nee Ogden), 51, and Julie Blance, 51.

A standout memory for them both was a residential geography field trip to Scarborough, being dropped off in the middle of nowhere to conduct village surveys. Julie’s love of languages was nurtured at the school, where she studied French and Spanish. And it was thanks to science lessons that Lisa ended up with a career in environmental health.

The school’s current principal, Sue Armstrong, said: “I think it’s lovely that so many people have come back to have a look.”

She will continue in her role when the new £12 million Unsworth Academy opens in September.

English teacher Joyce Audus, who taught at the school between 1975 and 1988 regards her time at the school as a golden era and the high point of her career.

Of the school’s first headmaster, Ronald Schwarz, she said: “He was an inspirational leader, prepared to listen, an innovator with the best interests of students always in the forefront of his mind and a genuinely cultured man.”

Reflecting fondly, she said: “I never felt the same way about any other school I taught at.”