All posts by T

RNLI – Coffee Morning results

Highworth and District Branch of the RNLI would like to thank all who supported us at our coffee morning in St Michael and All Angels Church Hall on Saturday 14th November ; We raised a total of £67.30. Our grateful thanks to St Michael and All Angels Church for allowing us to use their premises for this worthy cause.

Advertiser – Teacher inspires school to get gold

Swindon Advertiser, ran the following article on Saturday:

VETERAN athlete and teacher Lucy Doughty is the driving force behind the sharp rise in competitive sport at one of the smallest primary schools in Swindon.

South Marston School is one of only two in the borough to receive a gold standard Sainsbury’s School Games Mark this year.

Nineteen schools across Swindon were recognised in the Government-led awards scheme – up from zero in 2013 – but only South Marston and Oakhurst Community Primary School were able to achieve the gold standard.

The scheme was launched in 2012 to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition among pupils and into the community.

Andy Steckbeck, school games organiser for Swindon School Sport Partnership, said the awards were dished out according to how many events within Sainsbury’s School Games that a school attended.

Lucy, 43, has been at the school for seven years and was first attracted to it for its commitment to weekly swimming classes for every year group.

In her prime, Lucy was competing on the track in national finals over 1500m and in 2013 she was ranked seventh-fastest in the nation over the age of 40.

“I suppose I just feel that children really benefit from sport. I was quite academic and sport helped with my studies,” she said.

“People are sporty because it helps with everything and that’s not just for people who are talented. Everybody can benefit from sport. “It’s not just about being the best. However good I got, there was always someone better. Everybody has been on board. The parents are really supportive of sport and there’s been lots of support from the staff – teachers and TAs [teaching assistants] believe in the power of sport, not just to become healthy, but everything. It can deliver self-esteem and academic results.”

Since Lucy arrived at South Marston she has tried to develop the house system to motivate those pupils not representing the school at sport. There has also been development of the summer sports day, with sponsorship from nearby Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd.

Last year, the school monitored its after-school clubs and found 80 per cent of its 102 pupils were attending at least one of its sporting clubs from football to netball and more.

There is a culture of celebrating success at the school too, with the support of headteacher Luke Maddison, there has become a tradition on Fridays of recognising medals and trophies won by pupils in assembly.

Transport has been central to attending the sporting events South Marston has become known for supporting.

Lucy said: “The support from parents for transport has enabled us to do this. We would have come a bit of a cropper without them. They [staff] don’t put obstacles on. They go out of their way to cover lunches. The head’s really supportive; he doesn’t create problems, he finds a way around them.”

Highworth RNLI collection

RNLI Lifeboats LogoHighworth and District Branch of the RNLI would like to thank all the people who gave, on what started to be an atrocious day weather wise.

We raised £220.56 during our collection at St Margaret’s Park, near Sainsburys.

Thanks also to the Managers of each of the shops who allowed us to use their forecourts and offered their facilities in this worthwhile cause.

My personal thoughts were that whereas I stood there in a moderate rain, the RNLI crew memebrs who we raise money to equip do this in much worse conditions and on a rolling boat.
Our volunteer base is depleting rapidly, we need street collectors for approx 4hrs per year, obviously if you can spare more then you would be appreciated. You don’t even have to live in Highworth to help {I don’t}. We try and raise £6000 each year but sadly we don’t think we will achieve that this year.

Again Thanks to all.

Ron Rose
Highworth and District Branch of the RNLI

Advertiser: School gets set to triple in size

Copyright by Stacy WoolhouseAs reported in Swindon Advertiser here:

PLANS are moving forward which could see one of the region’s most well-established schools dramatically increase in capacity.

With thousands of homes due to be built in the coming years, South Marston Primary School is set to triple in size over the next few years.

This is because applications for almost 2,400 homes have been submitted in and around the village of South Marston, meaning the school, which celebrated its 140th anniversary last year, needs to expand.

It currently has spaces for 105 pupils but this will grow to 315 and while no exact date has been set for the expansion, it could happen as early as September 2016.

The idea was first put forward in 2012 and talks have been ongoing since then. As it stands, the council owns half the site with the Diocese of Bristol owning the other half.

To move forward with the plan, it is proposed that the council transfers its half of the school over to the diocese so everything can move forward.

Andrew Wild, of Bristol Diocese, said: “This is not a case of the council just giving property away but is being done to make the expansion a lot easier.

“If there is one organisation leading with the plan then it makes everything a lot easier, especially when dealing with things like insurance.

“If the plan gets approved we will negotiate with the parish council as there is a tiny strip of land, which they own, that is needed to go with the expansion.

“As a result we would look to expand nearby playing fields.”

Mr Wild was also keen to stress that any expansion would both respect the history of the school while also providing a community asset.

He said: “The hall is a a great place spiritually and and will play an important part in any future plans.

“What is most important to me is that the community will have use of the facilities.

“People living in South Marston will therefore be able to use the facilities in the evening and ideally during the day, as well when the children are not using them.

“This is something I hope everyone will benefit from.”

It is likely that a design for the expansion will be submitted for approval early next year.

The decision to move forward and give greater control to the diocese will be made at a council cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Advertiser – Pupils play part in opening solar farm

Sevor Solar Farm OpeningAs reported in the Swindon Advertiser here:

PUPILS from South Marston Primary School helped officially open the village’s new solar farm yesterday.

The Sevor Farm Solar project has been overseen by energy firm Eneco UK, which has regularly worked with the community while building the 43-acre farm, which is made up of 40,000 panels.

Power from the farm, off Nightingale Lane, is supplying the nearby Honda plant.

Building work started in January and the solar farm has been running since April.

As part of yesterday’s official ceremony, nine-year-old Pheobe Young unveiled a sign at the entrance to the site, bearing the logo she designed for the solar farm.

Pheobe won a competition which Eneco held with South Marston Primary School.

She said: “It felt really good to win the competition and I’m pleased with my sign design.”

During the event residents living near the farm were given a guided tour of the site.

Eneco managing director Guy Madgwick said: “Today’s event has been really symbolic of the achievement that is Sevor Farm Solar.

“While we are proud of the build of the project, its output and significance to Eneco as our largest onshore solar project, we are most of all extremely appreciative of the co-operation and warm welcome given to us from the local community.” 

As part of the solar farm project, Eneco, has supported a 20mph speed reduction zone in the village, flood mitigation works and footpath improvements to encourage walking and cycling in South Marston.

Parish councillor Barry Thunder said: “There is always a bit of scepticism with sites like this but Eneco has bent over backwards to integrate themselves with the village. The standard of the work is very impressive too.

During the event, Pheobe and her friends from South Marston Primary School planted flower seeds on a footpath by the site.

South Marston Primary School headteacher Luke Maddison said: “We are delighted to be playing a part in this major project in the village. “Our children have been learning about renewable energy and working with Eneco has helped with their studies.”