Charles and Lesley Marshall unveil the plaque.
Charles and Lesley Marshall unveil the plaque.

Charles Marshall downplayed his major gift to Saltus Grammar School on Friday evening. He said as people grow older and acquire more wealth, they have a responsibility to give back to the community and help others achieve.

The Charles E Marshall Technology Centre was dedicated on Friday.

Mr Marshall’s donation allowed the purchase of a state-of-the-art laser cutter able to produce two-dimensional work as well as a Denford Router 2600 for cutting a range of materials to produce three-dimensional work.

Mr. Marshall’s donation also enabled the purchase of new workbenches, a new computer and TV screen, several new power hand tools, DT software, and overseas training for DT Technician Michael Hooper.

Mr Marshall said: “It’s not a question of getting rich and making a lot of money, it’s what you do with all of that.

“I didn’t do this on my own — it was a family thing. It was all the people who worked together — Charles Collis, Francis Gosling —  to make me what I am today.

“So this is for them. It’s a collective agreement of all the people who worked in our shops and offices over the years.

“I’m in the position now where people helped me, now it’s my turn to help the next generation.”

Saltus headmaster Ted Staunton praised the Design Technology department for moving beyond birdhouses and spice racks and it was because of the forward thinking that it now has the state-of-the-art laser cutter.

As part of Mr Staunton’s vision to make the DT department a centre of excellence, he hired DT department head Phillip Heap, Patrick Mahon and Michael Hooper in 2010.

Mr Staunton said: “The department was in decline and losing students at a rapid rate. Today, DT enrollment has increased dramatically from a GCSE Year 10 and 11 enrollment of 14 students to next year we will start with 60. The advance level course now has 20 students.”

He added: “Students are able to transfer skills from physics, chemistry and maths to a variety of challenge problems.”

The headmaster said after a tour of the DT department Mr Marshall was impressed and asked what more he could do to help.

“I saw on his face the interest he had and the passion he had for the enthusiasm of our students.”

At the dedication, Mr Hooper gave a brief demonstration of what the new laser cutter could do.

Both Mr Heap and Mr Mahon gave presentations, including one in which Saltus students will participate in the Formula 1 design competition in November.

Saltus design technology students also had displays of some of the items they had created.