PUPILS at the new Rednock School discovered how their building got its name in a special tribute service to a man credited around the world for saving a dog breed from extinction.

A celebration took place last week to mark 100 years since the death of Captain George Augustus Graham, who lived in Rednock House, on the site of the now £30 million new school.

From his home he launched a breeding programme for Irish Wolfhounds at a time when they were close to extinction.

His grave is in St Mark’s Church and for the last six years local historian Andy Barton and Irish Wolfhound enthusiast Dr Nick Wilkes have been fundraising to get his grave restored to pay homage to the internationally respected figure.

"This started for me when I was walking through St Mark’s one day," said Mr Barton. "I noticed this forgotten grave and it made me think who was this person and what is he doing here?"

Irish Wolfhound owners from around the world turned out to the rededication service on Friday, led by Rev Janet Bromley, where the new grave was revealed and wreathes were laid.

Dr Wilkes, who travelled from Northumberland to be at the service, told pupils at Rednock School why the man who gave the school its name was so important to him and other dog owners.

"I have had the opportunity to share my life with these wonderful dogs because of this pioneering man, Captain Graham, who saved Irish Wolfhounds from extinction."

The children were told that when Capt Graham came to Dursley in the 1850s he moved to Oaklands House, but did not like the name. He renamed it after an area in the lowlands of Scotland called Rednock, which was his ancestoral home.

During his time in Dursley he served on the parish council and such was his standing in the town that the whole place came to a standstill when his funeral was held.

At the service on Friday a direct descendant from Capt Graham, Rory Webster, attended.

"It was a great day and a very unique celebration," said Mr Webster. "I am very proud of what my grandfather did.

"It is very relevant to Dursley because he lived here and his house was where the first Irish Wolfhounds were bred that are directly linked to thousands of dogs around the world."

The mayor of Dursley, Jane Ball, unveiled a plaque dedicated to Capt Graham outside Rednock, which will be moved to a position at the back of the school where Rednock House once stood.