Ceremony to honour school’s two old boys who won Nobel Prize

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A ceremony is to be held to recognise the achievements of two Nobel Prize winners who were pupils at the same Todmorden school.

John Cockroft was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1951 and Geoffrey Wilkinson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1973. Both were pupils at the former Todmorden Grammar School.

Their names are on the roll of honour boards on display at Ferney Lee Primary school.

The school’s governors have now agreed to loan the boards for a 12 -month display at Todmorden Library.

Calderdale Council plans to hold a ceremony at the library later this month to unveil the boards and it is keen to invite the men’s relatives.

The council’s Cabinet member for children and young people, councillor Olwen Jennings, said: “For one school to produce two Nobel Prize winners is extraordinary and we feel that it is a story which needs to be told. It would be marvellous if when the boards are unveiled, members of these two men’s families could be in attendance.”

Mr Cockcroft was born in Todmorden, in 1897. In 1932 he designed a device for accelerating protons. With fellow scientist ETS Walton, he built a voltage multiplier. Using this Cockcroft and Walton brought about the first nuclear transformation by artificial means. For this work, they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1951.

Mr Wilkinson, who was born in 1921, received his Nobel Prize for his work on organometallic compounds with Ernst Otto Fischer.

Relatives who would like to attend the ceremony can email jo-anne.campbell@calderdale.gov.uk or call 01422 392628.