Back to roots for Baron

BACK TO BATLEY: Baron Woolmer speaks to pupils at Zakaria Muslim Girls' High School.

BACK TO BATLEY: Baron Woolmer speaks to pupils at Zakaria Muslim Girls' High School.

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A former Batley MP came back to his roots to teach pupils about his role in the House of Lords.

Baron Kenneth Woolmer of Leeds visited Zakaria Muslim Girls’ High School and said he was delighted to be back in Batley.

He said: “I had a very close relationship with Batley many, many years ago.

“I was delighted to accept the invitation.

“Batley brings back many memories.”

Baron Woolmer was MP for Batley and Morley from 1979 to 1983 and the last ever MP for the now split Batley and Morley constituency.

Prior to his election he served as leader of West Yorkshire County Council and was also a councillor in Leeds.

Baron Woolmer was made a life peer in the House of Lords in 1999.

His visit to the school, in Warwick Road, Batley Carr, was part of the Peers in Schools programme, where pupils can invite politicians to visit their school and talk about their life in Westminster.

Baron Woolmer met with school staff and community leaders on February 8 before giving a special assembly to pupils about the House of Lords and his political career.

“It’s a pleasure to be asked,” said Baron Woolmer.

“I have met with some really, really good friends from all those years ago today.”

Zakaria Muslim Girls School – the first of its kind in Batley – first opened in 1982, with the support of Baron Woolmer.

He said he was pleased to hear of the success the girls achieved at the school.

He told pupils that he was the first of his family to attend university.

“I never thought I’d become a Member of Parliament,” he said.

“When you’re studying here don’t think it can’t happen, if you’re ambitious and determined.”

Baron Woolmer explained how the House of Lords functioned and the role of lords before asking the girls to raise their own issues for discussion.

Shabir Daji, chairman of the Muslim Education Trust, said Baron Woolmer was a great help to the community during his time as MP.

“He is a man of many talents,” he said.

“We are so fortunate that he shows a keen interest in Batley.”

Baron Woolmer also visited the school’s new site, based in Carlinghow Hill, Upper Batley.

The school will move to its new building, a refurbished former nursing home, in September.