College pupils thank emergency services for help during Whaley Bridge evacuation

Students at Buxton and Leek College held a special event to thank the emergency services who supported residents in Whaley Bridge when they were evacuated from their homes last year.

In attendance were representatives from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, Derbyshire Constabulary, local mountain rescue teams, local businesses in Whaley Bridge, schools and community groups.

Apprentices and students from the college delivered all aspects of the event, from planning and organising the event for guests – including devising a special menu, preparing the food in the college’s on-site industry standard training kitchens and greeting and hosting guests during the event.

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Business development manager at Buxton and Leek College, Tom Malpass, said: “We wanted to organise this even to thank the crews who worked so hard to keep people safe in the emergency situation in Whaley Bridge last year. Our students have done a fantastic job of organising and hosting this event, we couldn’t be prouder.

Hospitality and tourism is one of the major industries in and around the Peak

District and there are some fantastic opportunities available for apprentices to work with experienced chefs in award-winning restaurants and food venues. Some of our students have gone on to work at Michelin-starred restaurants or with celebrity chefs. It can be a really rewarding career for someone who’s passionate about food and customer service.”

Deputy chief constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, Rachel Swann, who oversaw the police response following the collapse of the dam wall at Toddbrook Reservoir, said: “The incident at Whaley Bridge was one of the most significant policing operations in Derbyshire for many years. The community spirit has been really powerful and uplifting. We don’t often have the opportunity to go to this type of event, so we’re really grateful. The

event and food that we had was lovely.”

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The event was held as part of National Apprenticeship Week, a week to celebrate the impact that apprentices have in businesses around the country.

The college also hosted an engineering employer breakfast and a carpentry competition for students.