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LET'S REMEMBER; Pupils create school memorial garden.

Byline: DAVE ROBSON

STUDENTS needing somewhere to reflect on the death of a loved one now have an oasis of calm at a Teesside school.

When several Nunthorpe School pupils lost close family members and friends last year, the idea of a school garden of remembrance was hatched by Sam Edwards, a mentor with the school's SIG (Support, Inclusion and Guidance) team.

Funding of nearly pounds 2,000 was secured from Redcar and Cleveland's extended schools programme and the Youth Opportunities Fund.

Four volunteers from the school's Wednesday night youth club helped Mike Dent, of Groundwork North East, bring the plan to fruition. An overgrown area next to the science labs was chosen. And though it's just 10m by 4m, it should prove a huge benefit for pupils seeking a quiet place in which to reflect.

Redcar and Cleveland Mayor, Councillor Brian Briggs, performed the opening ceremony. He was joined by the four lads who did most of the hard work -15-year-olds Owen Connor, Alex Bennett and Chris Moscrop and 16-year-old Scott Burnip.

Alex said: "Lots of students in this school last year lost parents and close relatives. It was a sad time.

The area's much better than what it was like - some of the bushes were bigger than me!" Karen Deen, director of extended school, developed the initial idea with student Hannah Scurr, now a sixth former. Karen said so many pupils losing loved ones "impacted dramatically" on their lives and those close to them.

She added: "It was recognised there wasn't an appropriate area for those affected to go and sit quietly, remember in private or talk."

Groundwork's Mike Dent said the lads did a fantastic job, adding: "I was amazed at them. When they were barrowing the gravel in they were physically shattered. They did it two weeks in a row and on the third week, they were asking 'Mike, can we do something different?'" The area contains various plants, including bamboo and date palms. One tub even contains a small water feature, with its soothing fountain controlled by a solar panel. Mike said: "A lot of the features are movable and there's space to plant something or hang a plaque. The layout can be changed to suit and it's pretty low maintenance."

Headteacher Debbie Clinton said: "It's fantastic we have a facility life this for our young people to use who, unfortunately, like all of us, go through some difficult times."

Cllr Briggs added: "It's a tremendous achievement."

It's fantastic we have a facility life this for our young people to use who, unfortunately, like all of us, go through some difficult times. I'm proud of what everyone has done - Headteacher Debbie Clinton, on Nunthorpe School's new remembrance garden, which was opened by Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland, Cllr Brian Briggs, pictured left with pupil, Owen Connor, 15Picture by IAN COOPER

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WASTED SPACE: How the area next to the science labs looked, left, before Mike Dent from Groundwork and the boys from the school took on the challenge of making the garden
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 14, 2009
Words:508
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