A MIX of sadness and excitement was in the air as staff and pupils of English Martyrs RC High School prepared to merge with St John’s RC High School, becoming Cardinal Newman Catholic High School this week 33 years ago.

Head teacher Frances McNulty said: “There is obviously a great sadness that we have to close but everyone is hoping to carry the best traditions of English Martyrs into Newman High.”

The closing of the school was due to a shortage of Catholic children in the area, with three local schools – the others being St John’s and St Gregory’s – facing the axe.

St John’s was ultimately chosen, after a Spanish College bought the east side of the school for use as its English base.