Official opening of Stowmarket school honouring Alice Grace Cook

Bill Barton (left) and Andy Gibbs (Chair, Orwell Astronomical Society) in front of the school sign. (Mike Kirkham – Chair, Athenaeum Astronomy Association)


The Orwell Multi Academy Trust (OMAT) celebrated the official opening of Grace Cook Primary and Nursery in Stowmarket, Suffolk on Friday, 2022 Oct 14. OMAT, which has several other academies throughout Suffolk, named the new school after Alice Grace Cook (1877–1958), a British amateur astronomer and BAA member known as Grace Cook.

The official opening of the school was attended by representatives from the project team, the MP for the Bury St Edmunds constituency Jo Churchill, town mayor Barry Salmon, consort councillor Heather Salmon, the chairs of the Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich) and Athenaeum Astronomy Association (Bury St Edmunds), along with the author. The afternoon featured an assembly with the new pupils and a performance from Stowmarket High School choir.

Richard Dedicoat (Headmaster, Grace Cook School) prepares for the ribbon cutting. (Bill Barton)

Back in 2021 April, Suffolk County Council received planning permission to build the school, which was to be located within the Northfield View housing development, previously known as Chilton Leys. The new two-storey 210-place primary school building comprises of eight classrooms, a large hall and kitchen. The 60-place nursery consists of two main playrooms and a kitchen. Included within the design is a new football pitch, ball court and generous outdoor play areas.

Anna Hennell James, CEO of OMAT, said ‘It has been a real team effort to get from drawings on paper to a finished school building, and we are delighted to have so many of the people involved in that journey at the official opening with us’.

A biography of Grace Cook was published in the Journal in 2019 [129(1), p.29–37].


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