'Tireless' parents fundraise £20k for primary school's new play equipment

Woodbridge's St Mary's Primary School has a new play area thanks to parents' fundraising

Woodbridge's St Mary's Primary School has a new play area thanks to parents' fundraising - Credit: St Mary's Primary School

Youngsters at a Woodbridge primary school are "thrilled" with a new play area after a group of parents fundraised around £20,000 to purchase the equipment. 

A pirate ship-themed climbing frame at St Mary's Primary School, in Burkitt Road, was taken down earlier this year after it was deemed unsafe for children.

But parents of the Friends of St Mary's committee set themselves the task of raising the cash needed for new equipment so the pupils would not miss out in their break time.

They attracted £7,000 in donations from parents and families from the school and secured a series of grants from Suffolk councillors and businesses to meet their goal of £20,000.

The school's youngsters outside the old pirate-themed play area

The school's youngsters outside the old pirate-themed play area - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The bulk of the cash was raised during the first half of the year, when lockdown measures meant fundraising activities could not be held.

St Mary's annual summer fair was one of many events that fell victim to the Covid crisis.


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The design of the new play equipment - a wooden castle - was picked by pupils from a shortlist.

Alex Gwynne, deputy headteacher of the school, paid tribute to the parents who spent time and effort to secure the funds for the project.

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She said: "Back last year, the pirate ship was condemned and needed to be dismantled.

Alex Gwynne, St Mary's Primary School deputy headteacher

Alex Gwynne, St Mary's Primary School deputy headteacher - Credit: Charlotte Bond

"The children are really excited and delighted that they've got some new playing equipment. They are thrilled to give it a go.

"We wanted something completely different and the children opted for the castle. They are ecstatic with it, to to be honest.

"It's been a six-month project and the parents have worked tirelessly.

"It will make a huge difference at lunchtimes and playtimes. It will also improve mental health, wellbeing and encourage physical activity."

Elaine Bicknell, chair of Friends of St Mary's, added: "We're a small committee of just a few mums. The number we needed to raise was so huge and we started from zero.

"It was a really lovely thing to do in lockdown. It showed wonderful community spirit.

"The children will love it - when you're five or six, playtime is why you go to school.

"We want to thank everyone for all their support."

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