Royalty came to open a new £25m building at Greenhead College named in honour of a student who has a long family history with the college.

The Duke of Gloucester officially opened the new Hirst Building which has replaced the college’s 1960s science block with vibrant, modern classrooms and laboratories to teach A Levels in biology, chemistry, medical science, politics and psychology. It also contains study and social space for all students.

The four-storey Hirst Building has been named after Professor Judy Hirst, a former Greenhead College student who has since gone on to be a pioneer in science at the University of Cambridge.

Revealing that her grandmother attended Greenhead High School for Girls, as it was back then, she said: “It’s a great honour to have the fantastic new science building at Greenhead College named after me. Greenhead is where I started my journey as a scientist. It showed me I could succeed and sent me off into the world.

“It’s also part of my identity. My family has lived in Huddersfield for many generations and the Hirst Building renews my sense of belonging and of being part of the Greenhead community.

“But, most of all, I’m delighted to give my name to a building where so many talented young people will come to learn and study and I look forward to seeing both Greenhead and its students continue to go from strength-to-strength.”

Prof Judy Hirst, Greenhead College principal Simon Lett and The Duke of Gloucester

Judy is director of the Medical Research Council Mitochondrial Biology Unit at the University of Cambridge which aims to understand the fundamental biological processes taking place in mitochondria to learn about mitochondrial dysfunction in human diseases to develop new therapies to treat them.

Mitochondrial disease is a very complex condition. In nearly every cell in the body mitochondria are responsible for producing energy but if they don’t work properly it means tissues and organs such as the heart won’t function correctly. Sometimes the mitochondria are not very efficient and, in severe cases, they don’t work at all.

The Hirst Building has been fully funded by the Department for Education and is one of the first 50 schools and colleges selected by the government to be awarded funding to replace outdated facilities under its School Rebuilding Programme.

It was developed and built by construction giant Mace and Galliford Try and its eco-friendly features include a bio roof and solar panels which support the college’s drive for environmental sustainability.

The Duke of Gloucester toured the building, visiting students and staff as their lessons took place, before cutting the ribbon and unveiling the plaque alongside Professor Hirst to mark it officially open.

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.

First look inside the new £25m Hirst Building at Greenhead College ahead of its official opening