A PEACEFUL demonstration was held to mark what could be the last day of term at Malvern Hills College.

More than 120 staff, students and other supporters gathered outside the school, which is earmarked for closure by its owner Warwickshire Colleges Group (WCG).

They met on Friday, July 2 to celebrate what the school means to the many people who have benefited from it since its foundation in 1886.

Mary Brittain, spokesperson of the Save Malvern Hills College campaign group, said: “It would be such a shame if the site were to be sold.

“I think a lot of people in Malvern are not aware of what is at risk of being lost."

She expressed her fear for the 30 plus members of staff who face redundancy but added she is optimistic the site may still find a new owner after a bid was submitted from an anonymous donor.

Mrs Brittain said: “The staff still have no idea. Today they are leaving with no idea if they will still have a job in September.”

She continued: “It would establish Malvern as a cultural and artistic hub. It would be a huge draw.”

Gemma Wiseman, head of the Save Malvern Hills College student group, said she was excited about the prospect of new ownership.

She said: “We hope very much that WCG will do the right thing and accept the bid on the table.

“It would be a tragedy and, in my personal opinion, a travesty of their duty as providers of education to see nearly 100 years of artistic and learning excellence traded in for a block of luxury flats or another retirement home!”

Miss Wiseman added: “What is evident throughout the campaign is that many local people were unaware that the college existed and are upset that they may not get the chance to experience it.”

Among those in attendance were MP Harriett Baldwin, Worcester City councillor Marc Bayliss, and members of Malvern-based charity ARCOS - the Association for Rehabilitation of Communication and Oral skills.

Mrs Baldwin, the MP for West Worcestershire addressed the 100 plus crowd, launching chants of “We will not lift the covenant!” in reference to the arrangement that ensures the building will be used for educational purposes.

Kay Coombes, clinical director of the ARCOS said: “The college is a vital part of the local community.

“Now, more than ever, our young adults, as well as older people, need education in the arts for their mental health and wellbeing.”