Praise for Newton Rigg College principal as he leaves for new job

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From left, Trevor Wilson, chairman of Newton Rigg Society, Wes Johnson and Peter McCall, police commissioner
From left, Trevor Wilson, chairman of Newton Rigg Society, Wes Johnson and Peter McCall, police commissioner

The outgoing principal of Newton Rigg College, Wes Johnson, has been presented with a shooting print by former students.

The Newton Rigg Society made the presentation to mark his support for the society, which had been reformed during his time at the Penrith college.

After five years at the helm of the rapidly-growing college, he is to step down to take up the role of principal of Lancaster and Morecambe College.

Under his leadership, student numbers at the college have grown from 350 in 2012 to today’s figure of about 1,000.

Society chairman Trevor Wilson handed over the print during a society gathering at the Lakeland Livestock Centre at Cockermouth.

Mr Johnson joined the college in 2012, following the Penrith-based college’s take-over by Askham Bryan College, with the York-based institution sinking substantial investment into Newton Rigg.

A year ago, he was appointed campus principal for Cumbria and the North.

He also took a leading role in a £3 million redevelopment of the campus.

This has so far seen the addition of a state-of-the-art dairy unit at the college’s Sewborwens Farm, the opening of The Frank Parkinson building agriculture centre and ongoing improvements to the college campus, including new equine facilities.

Work is now nearing completion on a new sheep husbandry centre at the college’s hill farm at Low Beckside.

 Wes Johnson

Wes Johnson

Anthony Alton, chairman of governors, said: “Wes has played a pivotal role.”

Mr Johnson said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time at Newton Rigg.

The 44-year-old added: “It has been a privilege and an honour to lead Newton Rigg over the past five years.

“I have no doubt that Newton Rigg will continue to go from strength to strength.

He paid tribute to the support given by the Cumbrian farming community.

Before moving to lead the Penrith college, Mr Johnson was acting principal of Craven College in Skipton.

Lancaster & Morecambe College is a general further education college.

Guest speaker at the society meeting was Peter McCall, police and crime commissioner for Cumbria, who revealed the problems facing the police when it came to rural crime.

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