A GROUP of friends from Northwich paid the ultimate tribute to their school during lockdown, by building a replica of it in the video game Minecraft.

For sixth-formers Jack Furlong, Sam Wakefield, Gabriel Tenner and Jack McGinn, returning to the game of their childhood proved to be an irresistible moment of nostalgia before embarking on the next stages of their lives at university.

Minecraft allows players to explore a blocky, procedurally-generated 3D world with infinite terrain, as well as building structures or earthworks, and Jack Furlong explains how the idea came from his friend Sam.

He said: "We began by doing the standard things like building a base, collecting resources and so on.

"As it was our final year at The Grange, it was Sam's idea to commemorate that by building the entire school, in Minecraft.

"Sam didn't actually tell us initially of his idea, he just invited us on one night and we were welcomed by the beginning structure of the G Block.

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In total, the Minecraft replica took the friends hundreds of hours to complete, with them spending around two hours every evening over the course of about 3-4 months.

Jack added: "At first, we were only intending on doing the exterior, but we felt as though if we were going to do it, we'd have to build the school in its entirety.

"We mostly built it all from memory but google maps did help in seeing the layout from a bird's eye view.

"One of the hardest parts of the build was the fact the school curves round the road and obviously in a world of cubes, that was particularly difficult to accomplish.

"So, in order to combat this, we decided to just extend the size of a lot of the buildings which, in hindsight, helped us massively with the interiors."

"We managed to get through the front buildings fairly quickly, the theatre being one of the most enjoyable builds at that time, but when it came to the top field, the process began to drag ever so slightly.

"Every single block of grass that you see on the field was placed by hand as we hadn't discovered that there was a command to instantly do it all for us."

With such hard work and dedication, Jack says the friends all agree on what their favourite part of the build is; the sports hall, due to it's 'sheer scale' and 'detailed interior'.

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"Gabe (Gabriel Tenner) & Ginn (Jack McGinn) are particularly proud of the gym which they spent an obscene amount of time building and creating the various pieces of equipment that they use in real life", Jack explained.

"After finishing the build, we decided that it would only be right to share our lockdown project with the school that we have spent so many years at.

"We then put together three YouTube videos: the initial video displaying the general overview of the school, the second being a collection of images and the final 17 minute video being a virtual tour of the school, covering every single block of what we had built.

After finishing sixth form, the friends are now going their separate ways, with each off to study at university.

Jack said: "I am going to the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts to study acting, Sam Wakefield is going to Cardiff University to study Geography, Jack McGinn is studying Philosophy at Newcastle University and Gabriel Tenner is studying Physics at Queen's University Belfast."

Jamie Walker, Assistant Head of Sixth Form at the school said: "I think what these Sixth Formers showed was their passion for the school.

"To spend that much time and hard work creating it makes me very proud to know our students care so much about The Grange community.

"The creation itself is really quite something to behold, I’m glad we get to benefit from our student’s talents and skills in such ways."

To take a unique tour of the school, please use the following link to YouTube: