College pays moving tribute to a tragic former student

High Sheriff of Lincolnshire Robin Battle (right) unveils the memorial plaque on the wall of the Thomas Lodge.
High Sheriff of Lincolnshire Robin Battle (right) unveils the memorial plaque on the wall of the Thomas Lodge.

A LOCAL college for people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities has paid a moving tribute to a student who died two years ago.

The Linkage Community Trust, which has a campus at Toynton All Saints and another near Grimbsy, has named a new facility at its Toyntons site in honour of Thomas Denner.

Thomas passed away in 2009, aged just 20.

But he left such a strong impression on the staff and students at the Toyntons campus that they decided to create a lasting legacy to his memory.

As well as building a memorial floral display of lavender outside one of the college’s residences, they have also named their latest state-of-the-art disabled facility in his honour.

And Thomas’ parents Adrian and Kay, and Lincolnshire’s High Sherriff, Robin Battle, were on site for the official opening of the new Thomas Lodge last Wednesday.

The facility, which was built within an existing building at the college, will enable the Trust to provide better services for students suffering from severe disability. Thomas was the first wheelchair-bound disabled student at the college, which made the naming of the new facility in his honour all the more fitting.

Adrian Denner said: “It has been an emotional day for us and we are very heartened by the feeling that Thomas has been so well remembered.

“He had a short time here and made quite a big impression on the people here.”

Opening the new lodge, the High Sherff said the college was one of the most impressive and inspiring places he had visited during his time in the role and added that it was a “particular privilege” to be asked to visit the site.

Before the opening ceremony a number of guests were shown around the college. It includes on site living accommodation designed to help students become more independent and state-of-the-art learning facilities - such as a computer media centre.

The college is also a multi-award winner. It was awarded an Ofsted Grade 1 ‘Outstanding’ status three years ago.

The Linkage Community Trust was set up in 1976.

It provides everything from further education to employment services and support for people with moderate to severe learning and physical disabilities.