Ellingham CofE First School has celebrated the opening of a new car park to cope with the increased number of children attending the site.
Drop-off and pick-up times in the morning and afternoon had become chaotic with many cars spilling out from the previous car park and parking in the nearby lanes close to a dangerous junction.
With the aid of a generous donation of £5,000 from the Ellingham Estate, coupled with the leasing of some extra land, the school has doubled the capacity of its car park. Lady Belinda Gadsden, owner of Ellingham Estate, presented the cheque and officially opened the car park just before Christmas.
Diane Lakey, headteacher at the school, said: “The new car park is a massive improvement in terms of health and safety for the school and the whole community.
“It keeps children away from a busy road and greatly reduces the risk of an accident for everyone who uses it.
“We are hugely grateful to Lady Belinda and the Ellingham Estate for their donation towards the costs of the new car park and the leasing of the land that it stands on. They have supported a project of benefit to the entire local community.”
There are now 56 children on the school roll, a number that has risen steadily over the past five years, with the school attracting youngsters across a wide geographical area.
The closure of the independent Rock Hall School last summer led to a further influx of children.
In a letter to the school, Hugh Fell, managing partner of George F White, which manages the Ellingham Estate, said: “Ellingham Estate is delighted to be supporting such a thriving school in their rural local community.
“The strong demand is a credit to the high standard of teaching and we, the trustees and Lady Belinda, look forward to seeing the school develop and progress in the future.”
○ Before Christmas, Santa paid a visit to Doxford Hall Hotel as it hosted its annual Christmas party for the children of Ellingham C of E First School.
The school’s 56 children were treated to waiter service as they got into the Christmas spirit at the four-star luxury hotel. The Christmas party is paid for by the hotel’s owners Robert and Gina Parker.
Diane Lakey said: “It’s a really memorable event for the children. When the doors open as they come into the hall, you can hear the gasp from the children.”