Saham Toney primary school becomes district’s first ‘voluntary smoke-free zone’
- Credit: Photo: © Keith Mindham
A village primary school is the first in its district to have become a voluntary 'smoke free' area.
A sign has gone up on the gates of Parkers Primary School in Saham Toney, designed by pupil Ruby Brown, asking adults to refrain from smoking near the building.
The five-year-old, from Ovington, was a category winner in a Breckland Council competition to design a sign asking adults not to smoke in areas used by children.
The winning entries have been transformed into signs which will go up in areas where the 'voluntary smoke free code' is to be adopted, such as school and nursery entrance and public playgrounds.
Gordon Bambridge, Breckland Council's executive member for public protection, said: 'Children in the district really got behind this initiative and we had a fantastic response to the competition. The standard of entries was extremely high and I'm delighted that some of the children who took part were able to attend today to help put up the very first sign.
'We know that children who see smoking as part of everyday life are more likely to take up the habit themselves, so getting the message across in areas like this really helps. The aim of our project is not to prevent people from smoking, but asking them to do so responsibly, away from where children play or congregate.'
Four runners up in the district-wide competition also attend Parkers Primary School – Layla Wright, four, Katherine Welsh, five, Isla Gillespie, 11, and Katelyn Mallinson, 11.
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Officers from Breckland Council took part in the school's morning assembly to congratulate the winners and runners up and explain the dangers of breathing in cigarette smoke.
Redcastle Family Primary School and Diamond Academy in Thetford, St Peter and St Paul Primary School in Carbrooke, and Northgate High School in Dereham have also expressed an interest in introducing voluntary smoke-free areas.
Breckland Council's competition was supported by the EDP, who had a representative helping to choose the winners as part of the judging panel and in attendance at the recent winner presentation.
Schools, pre-school nurseries, and town and parish councils who would like to introduce the 'voluntary smoke-free code' in areas they are responsible for, and receive a free sign featuring the winning designs, should contact Breckland Council officer David Osborne on 01362 656313.