After many months of planning and development, The Malcolm Parry Observatory was officially opened on the evening of Tuesday, January 17th 2012, by Malcolm Parry, former Chair of Governors at The Long Eaton School (2002-2010) and Anu Ohja, Space Academy Director for The National Space Centre.
On a very enjoyable evening, blessed with unexpectedly clear skies…
… visitors, staff and students enjoyed an opportunity to visit the observatory and the rest of the new build and to view Jupiter and its Galilean moons through the main telescope. Other activities included an exhibition of Art produced by the Year 12 BTEC group who were comission to produce space-themed art for their community project, presentations from students who visited the Russian space programme in the autumn and some hands-on practical science, also with an astronomical theme. There was also a fantastic display of meteorite samples, very kindly loaned by Graham Ensor of Derbyshire Astronomical Society.
After visiting these attractions, and enjoying refreshments at a reception accompanied by a group of the school’s flautists, everyone gathered in the main hall at 6.45pm for the opening ceremony. Tim Gallimore, current Chair of Governors at TLES, welcomed guests including His Worship the Mayor of the Borough of Erewash, Councillor Kevin Miller, and Mrs Miller, Jessica Lee, MP for Erewash, and Chris Hughes and Professor John Coyne, Pro Chancellor and Vice Chancellor respectively of the University of Derby. He then introduced Malcolm Parry, and invited him to share some recollections and reflections from his 19 years of involvement with the school, and to declare the observatory open.
The next speaker was Anu Ohja, who delighted the audience with some fascinating thoughts on the mankind’s progress in discovering and understanding the scale of the universe, and the challenges facing young people to ensure that we continue to develop the capacity to explore beyond our own planet.
Neil Calvert, Headteacher, closed proceedings with thanks to a lengthy list of people and organisations, without whom the project could never have been completed, and an encouragement to other schools and institutions to work in paertnership with TLES to ensure that the benefits of the observatory are shared as widely as possible.
Mr Parry talking with the two headteachers with whom he worked at TLES – Dick Vasey and Neil Calvert.
The Long Eaton School flute ensemble
Catering Manager Margaret and her colleagues at Eden put on a very impressive spread for the reception
Graham Ensor, together with his collection of meteorites very kindly loaned to use for the three evening events of the week, pictured with Chris Newsome, also of Derbyshire Astronomical Society and a regular supporter of our astronomy events.