Hereford Sixth Form College has paid tribute its founding principal whose legacy they say continues to grow.

The college said it is mourning the passing of Dr Geoff Barnes earlier this week. He was responsible for the college’s creation in 1973 when it was established to be the sixth form for Hereford.

In 1973 students studied a select number of A level subjects, but in the years since the college has grown from around 300 to 2,100 students and it now offers more than 50 A level, vocational and level 2 subjects and draws students from across the region and Wales.

Peter Cooper, current principal at the Folly Lane college, said: “There have only been four principals of the college in what is approaching 50 years and I am really honoured to be the current postholder.

"Geoff established an ethos and culture that we have retained throughout the years.

"Our students have always gained intangible benefits from the enrichment activities and the benefits of making new friends and contacts from different backgrounds and social groups.

"They do extraordinarily well when they move on to universities and employment and it is these benefits of our community ethos which have endured.

"Geoff was always a great friend and supporter of the college and we will miss him dearly”.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Dr Barnes was at the centre of the local debate on school reorganisation and the building of a sixth form college which he said attracted “reactions of interest and scepticism in equal measure”.

The college said he was always proud of its successes including when it became the first ever Sixth Form College of the Year, in 2016.

Former principal Jonathan Godfrey added: “Geoff was one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the sixth form college sector.

"I shall always remember the warm welcome he gave me when I came to Hereford and his sage advice on many issues over the years”.