Nothing like a bit of pressure… not only did we have to get the garden built but we had to get it finished to a standard to do justice to the designer Nick Williams-Ellis and also Dorset Cereals who would be also invited to the opening.
It was all very mysterious to start with. Lots of whispered speculation about the special visitor, then a little more information, ‘special royal visitor’, more whispered speculation. Finally, as we were putting the finishing touches to the garden, scrounging and pleading to get the last bit of paving laid we found out that our visitor was to be the Duke of Gloucester.
The Duke trained as an architect and was very interested in the new school and the various green initiatives that had been incorporated into the build.
The whole visit was planned with military precision; the police, Dorset County Council, and W&P B.C. were all involved. A rogue red car in the school car park had to be towed away, this was serious stuff.
The big day arrived, Wednesday 17th September, mild and dry. The Duke arrived on time and met lots of local dignitaries, the architect and Mr Cheesley and other members of staff. The whole school assembled out in the playground whilst the Duke was shown around the school. He was so impressed and asked so many questions that the timetable began to go astray and organisers could be seen worriedly checking their watches. Finally the Duke emerged and was introduced to the ‘Walking Bus’ and after donning a hi-vis jacked accompanied them up to the new garden.
The Duke was taken round the garden by Samantha and was introduced to Patrick Horton. the marketing director of Dorset Cereals and to Nick Williams-Ellis the garden designer. Still wearing the ‘Walking Bus’ waistcoat the Duke formally opened the new garden and then went on to look at the display showing the progress that had been made to turn a wilderness into a workable space.
Following the Dukes departure Nick Williams-Ellis helped with a more informal celebration of the garden by helping some of the pupils to plant two standard bay trees.
Mark Cheesley with Kate Gosling hands a thank you letter to the marketing director of Dorset Cereals, Patrick Horton.
The Duke Officially Opens the New Garden
The lucky pupils allowed up to the garden to witness the big event were our 'Walking bus', our School Council and our 'Eco Warriers'.
Helen Toft, Danyel Cornick, Serena Hayre and Samantha Lucken
Jack Wiston, Joselyn Savill and Tom Wood help Nick plant a bay tree.
Samantha, Harry Hutchinson and Peggy Forden with the second bay tree
Mark Cheesley, Samantha Lucken, Nick Williams-Ellis and Patrick Horton.
Samantha Lucken, Nick Williams Ellis, Allan Goddard, Patrick Horton and the children Sarena and Danyel.