MORE than 1,000 former pupils returned to a Waterfoot school to celebrate a century of education.

Ex-students from Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School gathered for a special Thanksgiving Service hosted by former Bishop of Sheffield and fellow ex-BRGS pupil, The Right Reverend Jack Nicholls.

The reunion, one of a host of events being held to mark 100 years since the school opened, saw guests return to the Valley from across the globe.

Former students came together to recreate old class photos and gained an insight into teaching at BRGS today with each department showcasing its work with everything from mock trials to rat dissection.

The day culminated with a music concert and a light show on the front of the 1913 building, masterminded by sixth form art students.

Celebrations will continue throughout the academic year with a performance by former student and professional opera singer Alwyn Mellor on the March 1, 2014, a House of Commons reception for London alumni on March 12, 2014, and a Centenary Ball on May 10, 2014.

Headmaster Alan Porteous said: “We’ve been offering high quality education for 100 years and we will continue to do so for many decades to come.”

Among the school’s best-known ex-pupils are composer Ernest Tomlinson, supermodel and actress Agyness Deyn, BBC Radio One DJ Phil Lester and Carlo Nash, goalkeeper for Premier League side Norwich City and former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson.

Ken Bradley, alumni representative for the 1961 year group, said he had traced 29 members out of 33 from his 5A class, with some attending from France, Spain, America and Australia.

He said: “It was a far better result than we ever dreamed possible.”

The school opened at its Glen Road site on September 20, 1913, but can trace it origins back to Newchurch Grammar School, founded in 1703.