IAN Gillan has officially opened Beaminster School’s new music suite.

The Deep Purple singer was invited to the Francis Tucker building to cut the ribbon in front of staff, local dignitaries and representatives last Thursday.

Headteacher Keith Hales thanked all those that made the music suite a reality and said: “It has been a very long journey to get to where we are and we are really lucky to have this fantastic building – it is not just about being a music suite, for us it is also about our support for the creative arts.

“We recognised that it just wasn’t going to work with having our old music room up in the Mountjoy buildings.

“We are really fortunate that a very long time ago – about 350 years ago – a lovely lady called Francis Tucker made a huge donation to the school.

“That gift over 350 years ago has meant that we have still got money today and we are able to access, through the support of the governors and the school, some of that funding so that not only could we have a music room, we have also got all of this practise music room.

“After that long journey we are delighted to be here.”

Before cutting the ribbon, Ian Gillan said what a great honour it was to open the “marvellous suite”.

He recalled when he was younger and would practice with his first band in his mother’s living room before being able to play in his local youth club in the room they kept the table tennis tables and his father bought him a drum from a pawn shop, although it didn’t have a pedal or pegs.

He added: “We had enthusiasm and if it hadn’t been for my dad and the youth club, we would probably have moved on to something else within a few months.

“When I come here and see this… I see the facilities now and look at that combined with the obvious enthusiasm of everyone involved, it just makes my heart sing, it is wonderful.

“Congratulations everyone and I hope you produce some fantastic talent in the future.

“Not everyone is going to earn a living from it, but it can be a great friend, so I wish you all luck and great success.”