A "REMARKABLE and unique" school that has been in Shaftesbury for 75 years has suddenly closed its doors.

Yesterday, July 15, St Mary's Shaftesbury shut permanently with immediate effect.

The private day and boarding school, which accommodated girls aged nine to 18, has been contacted for further comment.

On its website and social media channels, the establishment said: "St Mary’s Shaftesbury has now permanently closed. We wish all our girls every success for the future, and thank them for making this such a happy school.

"‘Be seekers of truth and doers of justice’, wherever you go."

Following the announcement a fundraiser has been launched with hopes to save the school, with a target of £1.5million.

The page has so far raised more than £3,000.

Lucy Blyth and Hannah Rose Langton, who set up the fundraiser, had written on the page: "I have just received confirmation that if we can raise £1.5 million minimum, we can save St Mary's Shaftesbury from being closed.

"Anyone who has attended this school or been linked with it, will be aware of what an incredible environment it is, for allowing girls to achieve their absolute best.

"My thoughts (along with everyone who has contacted me) are what can we lose? St Mary's has been highly influential in so many of our lives that to see it disappear overnight without trying to pull out all the stops, seems unthinkable.

"We have 75 years worth of alumnae and £1.5million in the grand scheme of things doesn't seem unachievable (if divided up between us), especially to what I'm sure we agree is such a remarkable and unique school and community."

For more information visit the Go Fund Me page.