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Former BMet Teacher leaves historical legacy of literature for students locally and globally

Students at Sutton Coldfield College A Level Centre and at local and Malawi schools, are set to benefit from thousands of history books left by former teacher Mark Stretch, following his recent passing.

This week, A Level staff brought and distributed the cargo of literature to the college alongside Mark’s brother, Graham Stretch for students on site and for collection by teachers at local schools. Charitable organisation, The Krizevac Project, also came to gather books to travel to Malawi.
These initiatives were led by Sutton Coldfield College A Level History and Politics Lecturers, David Shearman and Sana Yasin, with the support of students and staff.

Mark was a treasured History Lecturer, who worked at BMet’s A Level Centre for nearly 20 years before later retiring and during his fruitful life he developed a vast book collection spanning the 18th – 21st centuries.

Current History Teacher Stephen with former History Teacher Mark    Current History Teacher Stephen with former History Teacher Mark

Stephen Nicholls, Deputy Department Manager of A Level Social Sciences at Sutton Coldfield College and friend of Mark said:

“He was an inspirational teacher, with a real passion and knowledge for his subject. I remember during college open events, that the History classroom would always be full of students, parents and college managers – all enthralled by Mark’s erudite and joyful discussions about History.

“Mark was one of the most kind-hearted, witty and caring colleagues that I have ever worked with. I count myself very lucky to have remained good friends with Mark after he retired from college. We would always meet up for a walk with the dogs over Sutton Park or Cannock Chase and it was clear that he maintained very fond memories of his time at Sutton Coldfield College.

“His premature and unexpected death at the age of 60 has been devastating for those who had the pleasure of knowing him.  However, it is of some comfort to know that Mark’s extraordinarily large collection of over five thousand History books will support future generations of A Level students with their studies, especially coursework.”

During his time at Sutton Coldfield College, Mark helped over 1000 students progress onto university. So, having the books means that the A Level department will be one of the best resourced for coursework in the country.

Here is what some of BMet’s A Level students’, who will benefit from the books had to say:

Megan, a History, Psychology and Sociology A Level Student: “It is so amazing to now have access to all these books, which will give me a greater insight into all the subjects that I am studying. I personally also like having a physical book, rather than just relying on the internet for research. These textbooks provide great context of people and places etc, in specific time periods.”

Paras, a History, Politics and Religious Education A Level Student: “I think it is fantastic how Mark’s books can be used to further educate students at BMet, at schools across the West Midlands and also in Malawi. The books are of a good intellectual level and can be used to increase students’ historical knowledge, that will be good for university and higher education in general.”

Mark’s immense passion for history and for educating students, informed his family’s decision to donate his wide-ranging publications to learners studying at the college he loved, as well as to other educational establishments locally and globally.

Mark’s brother Graham said: “Teaching at Sutton Coldfield College’s A Level Centre was a very big part of Mark’s life, so it seems really fitting for his books to be used to benefit students at the place he really loved. Mark also moved to live in Sutton Coldfield, so It is simply the perfect home for his books.

“Our hope is to help further inspire the next generation of students in this country and in Malawi with literature that will enhance their knowledge, which will be valuable for future careers.

“As a family we are delighted that the college is on board and in support of our way of honouring Mark’s legacy through his wealth of books.”

Sutton Coldfield College later plans to create a Mark Stretch History Resource Centre within it’s A Level Centre, so that Mark’s positive memory and legacy will continue to live on.

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