A SCHOOL with a rich history is holding a special concert in St Helens Town Hall to form part of memorial celebrations in honour of its founder.

Sarah Cowley, an influential figure in bringing free education to the school, died in 1715.

Her will, which was signed the year before her death, left her small farm estate for use to a body of trustees whose responsibility was to teach the children of poor parents in the area to read. This was more than 150 years before free education was introduced for all.

To this day there is still a Cowley Fund in existence with recipients mainly students at St Helens College.

“She deserves to be remembered, she was a very forward thinking lady and St Helens became one of the first authorities to take free education seriously,” said Rita Allcock, former Cowley teacher and pupil. Her influence was felt that poor children should be educated, she was a remarkable lady.”

The concert will feature performances from the Cowley College choirs and The Cowley Singers as well as a few short speeches. The event is one of several planned celebrations to be held over the next three years to celebrate the 300th anniversaries of Sarah’s death, the signing of her will and the first Cowley pupils going to school in 1716.

In February of this year, the 300th anniversary of the signing of her will was marked by a remembrance service was held at the United Reformed Church.

Further celebrations include a Cowley exhibition, to be held in March 2015 in the St Helens Museum at the World of Glass.

There are also hopes for a plaque to be placed on the memorial wall on the new Cowley site. Tickets for the Town Hall event, which takes place on Friday, July 18 are £5 and available from Rita on 01744 631091.