They say that schooldays are the happiest of your life.
And that was obviously the case for former Malsis School pupils Jamie and Jonathan Seddon, who, after finding out the school had closed last year, bought the building from administrators.
Jamie, 45, said: “I have many happy memories of going to Malsis and was incredibly sad when I heard it had closed its doors last year. We heard that the school was closing and both had a lightbulb moment.”
The brothers attended the school in Cross Hills, North Yorkshire, in the early 1980s.
Back then, the independent preparatory school was thriving, with dozens of boys and girls between the ages of three and 13 attending.
But in 2014, the boarding school fell into crisis after numbers dropped to just 80 pupils. It tried to merge with fellow independent school Giggleswick School, near Settle, but plans fell through after it was revealed that the merger would cost in excess of £1.5 million.
The school has been in disuse since it closed its doors for the last time in December 2014.
But now Jamie, and Jonathan Seddon, 43, have bought the school from administrators EY, and plan to find a way of making the site work for the community.
They are currently in talks with Craven District Council about bringing forward plans for the site, and are said to be keen to work closely with the community on development proposals.
Both brothers work for Seddon Developments, a family owned construction, maintenance and developments company which is part of the Seddon Solutions group.
This year the Bolton-based group had a turnover of £190 million.
Jamie, Managing Director of Seddon Developments, said: “At Seddon we spend a lot of time bringing old buildings back to life, including listed ones like that at Malsis. We just wanted to be able to be able to save a building where we’d had some of our happiest times and done a lot of growing up.
“My brother and I both have a deep affection for the school and its grounds. It’s where we began our education and started to become the people we are today.
“North Yorkshire is a stunning part of the world and one we both still visit regularly. I am excited to be able to put some of the skills we have learned into action at the school where it all started.”
The 32-acre plot includes a Grade II listed former country estate, which contains the main hall of the former school, a chapel, gatehouse and a number of other buildings.
Charles King, Executive Director at EY and Joint Administrator of Malsis School Trust, said: “We’re delighted to have secured the sale of the land and buildings to Seddon Solutions. The funds from the sale should enable a substantial dividend to be paid to the creditors of the school, including former teaching staff.”
At the time of the school’s closure following the failed merger, school governor and chair of the finance committee Robert Austin said: “Malsis is a school with a fine history and a proud record, so it is with very great regret and sadness that we make this announcement as this means that the school is now faced with closure.
Tatler described Malsis in their 2014 School Guide as a “pint sized Yorkshire prep” and an “outdoorsy and adventurous place”.
The Seddon deal follows a failed attempt from businessman Adrian Lisle, whose consortium put in an offer to buy the school in April. They had plans to re-open the site as a school which would accept pupils from September 2016.