Work to build a new Carlisle school has officially started after its former site was devastated by Storm Desmond.

The Bishop of Lancaster turned the first sod in a ceremony at the new site of Newman Catholic School on Scalegate Road yesterday.

The school’s former Lismore Place home was submerged in seven feet of water in December 2015 and is being demolished. It currently operates from a temporary base in Harraby.

Clergy gathered around to celebrate the hard work and “endless meetings” finally paying off.

Headteacher John McAuley said: “Considerable time has been spent in the design process to ensure we can offer outstanding facilities and resources for our students from Year 7 into sixth form.”

Turning the sod on the new site, The Bishop of Lancaster, Paul Swarbrick said: “It is always wonderful to be out of the office, but it’s a particular joy to come here after what the school has been through, it’s got to be a great day.

“All sorts is going on in people’s lives, but you think of these kids and the staff how they have struggled through. It is a great day.”

Paul Mullen, project manager for Galliford Try, which is building the new school, said: “The project is moving forward as planned and we will start laying the foundations in the next few weeks.

“We’re very privileged to have been selected by the Diocese of Lancaster to deliver such an important scheme for Carlisle, for me personally I’m very proud to be involved in the scheme, the new building will be a fantastic replacement following the devastation from Storm Desmond.”