A school which gives pupils the skills and knowledge to help them progress in education received a special gift from a former pupil this month.

West Cumbria Learning Centre, based in Distington and Whitehaven, supports young people including those permanently excluded from mainstream schools.

Nathan Martin left the West Cumbria Learning Centre in June 2018 with an ambition of becoming a rugby league referee and, earlier this month, saw that dream become a reality.

Nathan said: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support from the centre.

"This place helped me and turned my life around; there are some wonderful people here.”

Nathan visited the centre in Distington and took the time to talk to pupils about his progress since leaving.

He started to attend RFL officials training while still at WCLC. Since leaving, he has gone on to improve his fitness and now takes charge of youth games locally.

He has qualified as a referee and recently officiated a final between Wath Brow and Pilkington Recs. He wanted to present his shirt to WCLC as thanks for the support.

Headteacher Daniel Gee said: “It was a pleasure to meet such a polite and confident young man who has made a success of the opportunities with which he has been presented.

"The lovely things he said about the school and the staff here were fantastic to hear.

"We work hard to ensure all of our leavers have a destination after they turn 16 and to hear of someone developing such a passion and progressing within the sport is fantastic.

"That he is now putting back into the youth leagues and has become a role model himself is wonderful."

Centre manager Carol Morgan said: “We will keep the shirt safe and are proud to receive such a positive outcome from a past pupil.

"We hope to see Nathan officiate his first Super League match in the future.”