Hard-working mums pay back school by reviving wildlife area

Mums Patricia Santos, right, and Tanya Daniels, second right, in the Cawston Primary Academy School

Mums Patricia Santos, right, and Tanya Daniels, second right, in the Cawston Primary Academy School garden they have been working hard on. With them is head teacher, Kay Swann, and assistant head teacher, Sharon Brett, left. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Two green-fingered mums from north Norfolk have transformed their local school garden in a bid to give back to their community. 

Both Patricia Santos and Tanya Daniels, of Cawston, have children who attend the village’s primary school. 

They were inspired during lockdown and wanted to do something to help support Cawston Primary Academy. 

Mum-of-three Ms Santos, 38, of Chapel Street, explained how the project began. 

She said: “When I took my children back to school after lockdown in September 2020, I noticed how nature was claiming the garden back. It was sad to see such a wonderful area not being used.  

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“After all the help we had from the teachers during lockdown, it was the least I could've done to say thank you.”  

The pair had their work cut out and have carried out a number of tasks to restore the area back to its former glory. 

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Ms Santos added: “To start with I had to clear the brambles around the raised beds and then cleared the weeds in and around the beds. 

“I then cleared all around the outside of the pond area, revealing the paths leading to the fenced pond. To my surprise, there was a platform over the pond that was hidden underneath all the brambles.  

“After clearing all the brambles, I planted some plants I'd grown myself at home. We've also bought a couple of plants with the money raised from selling plants.”   

Their efforts mean that the pupils have been able to go into the garden to enjoy what nature has to offer, plant seeds and see them grow, and learn how food grows. And during spring, they had the opportunity to see the life cycle of frogs in action. 

They have created a Facebook page – School Wildlife garden – to track their progress and keep the families of pupils updated. 

“The community has been amazing, and really supportive. We are so thankful to the parents and community in general for its support. 

“Before, we've put out a plea to use people’s brown bins around the village to dispose of our garden waste, and the response was great. 

“From time to time, we have some plants for sale and we've sold out which means we’ve been able to raise vital funds for the garden. 

“It's very satisfying to see how the garden is starting to look like it should, but the best feeling is knowing the children are starting to use and enjoy the garden once again.”  

She added that the sale of strawberry plants had been particularity popular, raising more than £55 which has been put back into the school wildlife garden project. 

Many items have been donated by local residents. These include a metal garden arch, herbs, seeds, trees, shed felt, bitumen paint, wooden pallets to build a new compost area, manure, butterfly lights, topsoil, and wood chip. Woodgate Nursery in Aylsham also donated soil. 

Residents have also volunteered their time to refelt the shed roof and fix and replace the raised beds, while pupils have planted tulips and taken part in growing potatoes for the Beneath the Soil project. A fire pit area and bug hotel have also been created. 

The transformation has been hugely appreciated by the school, especially by its acting headteacher Sharon Brett, who has spent many hours working in the garden previously.  

Ms Santos and Mrs Daniels have shown huge grit and determination, gardening in a variety of weather conditions from working around an ice-covered pond and snow-covered ground, to weeding and tidying in the recent scorching heat. 

  • For the last year, this newspaper has been highlighting people in our county who make a real difference, to give them the spotlight they deserve. The Community Leaders Programme has highlighted a whole host of individuals known for their tireless work to make their communities better places to live. To nominate a community hero, email community.heroes@archant.co.uk and tell us who you are nominating and why.

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