A LOCAL boy made good passed on business advice and a financial shot-in-the-arm to a school in his home city.

Sir Tom Cowie handed over £50,000 to Thornhill School, Sunderland, on behalf of the managing director of his North European Marine Services company.

The millionaire motor magnate turned philanthropist is a major backer of a joint bid by Thornhill and partner schools to create a specialist business and enterprise college.

If successful it will attract extra investment from the Government of nearly £1m over the next four years.

Headteacher John Hallworth said it would enable the school to build on its existing strengths by expanding the curriculum in maths, business, computing and various vocational qualifications.

It will create opportunities for developing and accessing learning resources with the City of Sunderland College, Sunderland University and other agencies.

Mr Hallworth said: "There could be no better time to receive this extraordinarily generous support from Sir Tom for our schools and the communities we serve."

Thornhill are joint bidders with Castle View Comprehensive and Barbara Priestman School, plus partner primary schools Barnes, Diamond Hall, Hudson Road and Richard Avenue, all in Sunderland.