The community of Guisborough in east Cleveland, and local employer ICL Boulby have all come together to transform a dilapidated spot at a local school. Katie Robinson is the External Affairs Communications Officer who represents the firm at the North East Chamber of Commerce and Redcar | Cleveland Ambassador programme.
Less than a year ago 10-year-old Christopher Mitchell, a pupil at Chaloner Primary school in Guisborough, died as a result of a degenerative condition. His friends and classmates in year 6 immediately said they wanted a derelict courtyard in the centre of the building to be transformed in his memory. But they wanted it to be a lively, lovely place for them all to enjoy.
Now, thanks to a host of helping hands, work on transforming the area to an educational memorial garden is almost complete. The head teacher is Mary Parker: “The community have been fantastic with parents, family, friends and others all getting involved in fundraising,” she said. “People were just turning up and offering to help. It was a very difficult time for everybody but we managed to get through it thanks to the support of everyone around us.”
One of the final touches was to improve the pond area and ensure it was safe for the youngsters. One of the companies approached for help was ICL Boulby and instead of money they sent workers to tear out the old pond and replace it with a better, newer one. Katie Robinson is the external affairs communications officer and also represents the firm at the North East Chamber of Commerce: “We could have just given money,” she said. “But we thought it might be more helpful to offer expertise and materials so we’re here today to make sure they have somewhere safe and attractive to come to. You can see from the reactions of the children today how delighted they are with what we’ve done.”
But the area is more than just a pleasant place for children to come and take time out. “We gave it quite a bit of thought,” said Mrs Parker. “And we have carefully designed it to provide a resource to help deliver lessons in science and recycling. So it has an educational purpose as well as providing a fitting tribute to a sadly missed young man.”