Beeston bounces back

7th July 2006 at 01:00
As the police investigation following the July 7 bombings began to gather pace, it soon became apparent that Joseph Priestley College had a problem on its doorstep. Just 200 yards from the campus were the homes of two of the bombers.

The last 12 months has seen the college rise to the challenge of reducing ethnic tensions.

A year on, with the media pack having long since left this working-class West Yorkshire district, the college has been quietly moving on. Out of the public gaze, it has been working to foster a sense of normality and opportunity - for all members of its community.

The college says it felt a responsibility after the attacks to help the community restore a sense of pride.

Carolyn Wright, the principal, said: "There are lots of wonderful ventures happening in the area which have not been publicised," she said. "Many people are working very hard to deliver great things, and we are delighted to be able to support the community of Beeston."

Suicide bombers Shehzad Tanweer and Hasib Hussain lived in Beeston. A third bomber, Mohammad Sidique Khan, grew up there.

The college has been trying to expand its community work and offer courses which attract more young men.

The opening of its new pound;2 million college campus last year by Hilary Benn, the International Development Secretary, was described by the local press as a "stirring show of unity", as he was joined by 36 people of different nationalities.

Two of the bombers were former students at nearby Thomas Danby College.

Hasib Hussain completed an AVCE in business there in 2005. Shehzad Tanweer left in 2002 after completing the first year of a foundation degree in health and fitness.

Principal Roy Thorpe said: "We remain deeply shocked and saddened by the events in London last July and extend our sympathies to the victims and their families."

Mohammed Iqbal, the first Asian lord mayor of Leeds and a Kashmir-born Muslim, was due to lead a ceremony today in which a commemorative tree was to be planted in Beeston.

The bombings left 56 dead, including the four bombers, and more than 700 injured.

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