The newly-named physics laboratory at Rickmansworth School will honour one of its former pupils who died while he was studying in Oxford last year.

Room L19 at the Scots Hill secondary school has become the Kirkman Laboratory after former pupil, Andrew.

The 20-year-old’s body was discovered in a tent, which police believed was filled with poisonous gas, on a common in Port Meadow on December 8.

Family, friends and teachers gathered at the new Kirkman Laboratory in honour of the former pupil, who was studying physics with philosophy at Oxford’s Balliol College.

His mother, Wendy, said her son not only thrived at the school, but was also very happy there.

She said: “Andrew was quite a shy young man and we thought he would be better there as the pastoral care in the school is excellent and they looked after him. He just flourished during his time there.

“As a result, in the last three or four years there he did everything he could at the school.”

Amongst Mr Kirkman’s many awards while at Rickmansworth School, he was given the Mrs Coombs’ Prize for his overall contribution to the school community. This honour has now been renamed the Andrew Kirkman Prize.

Speaking of her son’s school community award, Mrs Kirkman said: “He always liked helping people. He was a very clever boy but he was never arrogant about it.”

Head of science, Drew Thomson, and the head of sixth form, Caroline Wilkes, were both at the school this afternoon for the special reception.

Mrs Wilkes said: “We’re probably the teachers that knew him really well and I kept in touch with him after school.

“During his summer holidays he came on the trip with us to show the Year 10 and Year 11 pupils around Oxford. He was an inspiration to younger pupils and that is why Drew and I were particularly affected by his death and that’s when we sat down and thought about doing something special for him.”

To mark his love of Astronomy, in which he took a retrospective GCSE in while he was in sixth form, Mr Kirkman’s parents donated a planetarium to the school’s physics department.

Mr Thomson said this is the first planetarium at the school and that it will be used by students of all ages to help with their understanding of the universe.

This afternoon, Year 13 physics students were presenting their coursework for assessment in the room next to the newly-named Kirkman Laboratory.

Mr Kirkman’s A-Level coursework was on show for pupils at the school to gain “inspiration” from the former pupil, who Mr Thomson referred to as someone who “had a real impact on those who knew him”.