Our wonderful Maintenance Team have been spending every weekend in October and November at school, working in their own time on a secret plan to build a magical Christmas feature for pupils at the end of a term where blended learning, wearing masks, social distancing and hand gel have become the norm.
The fantastic team, Mark, Matt, Mike and Steve, built a secret Christmas Grotto at the school last year, transforming the old changing rooms which were being used as a storage area. They decided to go one step further for 2020, creating a version of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, complete with magical shops with hand carved signs leading into a fairy tale snow scene and a festive Father Christmas’ grotto.
Mark, who led the project, said ‘We wanted to raise everyone’s spirits this Christmas and decided to up our game and create ‘Prospect Lane’ – Shebbear’s equivalent of Diagon Alley. We built all the shop window frames and made the signs mostly from things we had lying around in our shed, I can’t reveal all of our secrets but I will tell you that the snow scene was carved out of old polystyrene! We worked hard to make sure it is all covid-safe, with a one-way system throughout, airflow and no contact.’
Mark continued, ‘2020 has been a difficult year and we wanted to make the end of term something the pupils (and staff) will remember – we’ve been working from early till late every weekend since October but have really enjoyed it – I think the others did get a bit annoyed with me when I kept changing my mind about things!’
The shops in ‘Prospect Lane’ include ‘Lovett’s Sweets’ after the Pastoral Deputy Head Mrs Lovett, ‘Drakes’ potion shop after Chemistry teacher Mr Drake and ‘Kirby & Jenkins’ dressmakers after Head, Mrs Kirby and Senior Deputy Head, Mr Jenkins.
Pupils have all visited Prospect Lane in their bubbles and we are also welcoming pupils from Shebbear Primary School this week, now that we have broken up.
Head, Mrs Kirby said ‘I just can’t thank Mark, Matt, Mike and Steve enough for spending so much of their free time, evenings and weekends, working on this out of the goodness of their hearts. It really is a magical experience right down to the background music and the smell of Christmas as you walk in (I have no idea how they achieved this and they won’t give anything away!). This is a perfect example of our close-knit community at Shebbear, it is such a special school and when our wonderful staff do things like this, it really is extremely heart-warming!’