STUDENTS at a Darlington school will feel the benefit of a £700,000 sports hall when they return after the summer holidays next week.

Former assistant headteacher Dave Tucker has left a permanent legacy at Darlington School of Mathematics and Science (DSMS) in the form of a polished plaque bearing his name.

Mr Tucker, from Hurworth, who retired at the end of last term, did the honours during the school's recent 50th anniversary celebrations

The sports hall structure uses a hi-tech fabric stretched over a steel frame to provide staff, students and athletes with a modern sporting facility.

The eco-building allows natural light to penetrate the interior for a host of events to take place without having to use the lights.

Home to four courts, the hall also features modern changing facilities and classrooms.

Full-height curtains allow the structure to be divided into sections allowing sports such as badminton, basketball, netball, football and volleyball to be played at the same time.

The facility will be used to hone the skills of DSMS athletes and will also be available for clubs in the area.

Mr Tucker joined in 1984, 20 years after the school opened as the 650-pupil Branskome Community School.

Joining the staff at Branksome, which became DSMS in 2011, he worked under five headteachers.

He said: "It is a tremendous honour being asked to open the sports hall and it means my name will continue to be associated with the school for years to come."

Headteacher Calvin Kipling said: “The decision to ask Mr Tucker to officiate was unanimous.

"He has been a stalwart of the school for decades and it is only right and proper that we should honour him this way.”

DSMS pupils return for the new term on Tuesday (September 2).