AN OLYMPIC gold medalist and Saints legend opened Southampton’s newest school.

Rower Louis Attrill, who won the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, joined former Southampton defender Francis Benali to cut the ribbon at the Hope Community School in the city.

Hope Community is a free school that opened their doors in Central Hall, which will be its temporary home for the nest two years.

It is then expected that the school will move to a permanent site in Chapel Road, Southampton, in two years.

The school for four to 11-year-olds has welcomed its first 30 pupils. It aims eventually have an intake of 60 pupils, with class sizes of 30.

The school will increase in size with two new reception classes each year until it reaches a full capacity of 420 pupils by 2023.

Hope was set up four years ago and has partnered up with John Lewis and Paint Pots Nurseries, along with, Aldermoor Farm but gets its funding from the Department for Education and the Skills Funding Agency.

Principle for Hope Community, Steve Wright said: “It was fantastic to see everyone there and we were able to celebrate the opening of the school. It is about making a difference for the children and to help improve their aspirations, and delver them as community pioneers.’

The school is accepting applications now for start in reception in 2018.