March 11 2014 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Monday, January 13, 2014
Pupils, staff and parents of a north Norfolk seaside school have donated all of their Christmas fund-raising efforts to help flood victims in their community and to rebuild their storm-battered village.
Five families with children at Bacton Primary School were among those whose homes were badly flooded when the storm surge swept through the area on December 5.
The school’s Christmas fete had been planned for the following day, with proceeds destined to go towards a new storage shed.
Christine McBurney, a school governor and member of the Parent Teacher and Friends’ Association (PTFA), said they had initially considered cancelling the event because of the post-surge turmoil, but decided to go ahead.
“It turned out to be a bumper year,” said Mrs McBurney. “We met afterwards and decided unanimously to donate the proceeds to provide flood relief for the residents of Bacton and Walcott.
“The £500 donation is a considerable part of the PTFA’s fund-raising efforts during the year but all involved decided that donating money was an important lesson for the pupils in compassion, caring and putting the needs of others before your own to help wherever you can in difficult times.”
As well as immediate relief, they hoped it would go towards the cost of repairing sea defences and damaged roads.
The whole school response to the disaster had been an amazing demonstration of its community and caring ethic, she added. Several parents had brought in Christmas presents for children affected.
The 52-pupil school raised a further £67, collected after its Christmas production, which will be going to a locally-based flood fund-raising group.
That sum includes £21 raised by three of the older pupils - Harrison Neave, Sharna Starkings and Zak Nicholls - who set up a stall to sell their homemade cakes, bookmarks and Christmas cards for the cause.
“It was all their own idea and initiative. They wanted to help,” said head teacher Sandra Humphreys.
“All the children have learned a massive amount from this experience. Their desire to help and their compassion have been delightful to see.”
School life had returned to normal after the storm. One family made homeless by the flood had initially moved to North Walsham but had just settled in temporary accommodation closer to the school. It would be six or seven months before their home was clean and dry so that they could move back.
Bacton School, which is a five-minute walk from the sea’s edge, is an officially designated “Beach School” which means that it uses the beach as an outdoor classroom.
Mrs Humphreys said the children had been learning about the effects of coastal erosion during the summer term.
She added: “This event has reinforced their learning and shown them the reality of how ferocious the sea can be.”