Army lends a hand to a Ripon primary school

Key Stage Two pupils Cory Liddell, Kush Mukerji, Archie Jones, Hope Marnoch and Ellen Saine with assistant headteacher Victoria Kirkman. (s)

Key Stage Two pupils Cory Liddell, Kush Mukerji, Archie Jones, Hope Marnoch and Ellen Saine with assistant headteacher Victoria Kirkman. (s)

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A Ripon school had some special help to landscape its outdoor area when a troop of soldiers lent a hand.

The team from 21 Engineer Regiment, who are based locally, turned up to rejuvenate Greystone Community Primary School’s grounds.

The project came about after assistant headteacher Victoria Kirkman approached Corporal Shaun Fitzmaurice, whose son attends the school, to ask about creating an outdoor space where pupils can sit, reflect and work.

The soldiers cleared the space and constructed seating and storage for them.

Miss Kirkman said: “The work was completed to an exemplary standard and the men were professional and polite throughout the week.

“We really felt that these areas were not being used to their full potential and that they could be developed into something that the children could actually use; an outside learning space.

“Thanks to Mr Fitzmaurice and his team, we can now take small groups outside, children can sit and read, sing and perform and it looks aesthetically pleasing to all. Mr Fitzmaurice led and managed the team in a very organised and professional manner and we are extremely pleased, as a school, with the result.”

Staff are now hoping for a return visit from the regiment so that they can see the children enjoying the new facility, which they expect to be looked after by young gardeners at the school.

Teaching assistant Lauren Clark said: “The areas are now extremely vibrant and all the children are very excited to work out there. It gives the children as sense of pride and the Gardening Club now have something to maintain.”

Miss Kirkman added: “Greystone School are thankful to Mr Fitzmaurice and his team and we will be inviting them in to school soon to see the areas being used by the children.”