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Award for Suffolk students

PUBLISHED: 11:00 06 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:59 03 March 2010

STUDENTS were set to receive a special award tonight after beating the vandals to create a friendship garden for an Ipswich school.

A team of basic skills students from Otley College spent months transforming a piece of overgrown land at Orwell Junior School in Ipswich.

STUDENTS were set to receive a special award tonight after beating the vandals to create a friendship garden for an Ipswich school.

A team of basic skills students from Otley College spent months transforming a piece of overgrown land at Orwell Junior School in Ipswich.

And, when the garden was hit by wreckers on the day of its official opening, they worked against the clock in the best Ground Force style, repairing all the damage in time.

Now the community education service is set to give a Suffolk Achievement Award to the 13 students concerned - Andrew Beadles, Christopher Bozward, Quentin De Vial, Nicky Finch, Ian French, Paul Gibbs, Shane Gowlett, David Lewin, Keith Miller, Ai Mizohata, Pauline Nicholls, Emma Ruffles and Glen Sloan.

"I am really pleased they are getting the award because they worked so hard," said Dave Nicholls, science leader at Orwell and head of area special needs.

"The students came here over a period of about 25 weeks and put in so many hours of work - they transformed a derelict area of land into a garden. It was brilliant."

The idea for the friendship garden came about after Mr Nicholls took a group of pupils to Otley College and saw the sunflower garden they had created there.

He got talking to staff at Otley, and they arranged for students from the agriculture and related studies course to spend time working on the piece of land at the school in Robeck Road.

On the day of the opening at the end of the summer term, there was bitter disappointment when vandals broke into the school and tried to destroy the garden.

But the Otley students proved equal to the challenge – spending two-and-a-half hours working hard to put it all right and ensure the garden was ready for the ceremony.

"The garden has made an incredible amount of difference to the school," said Mr Nicholls.

"We have had bluetits using the nesting boxes, and the students were able to observe them."

He said the garden was helping the children with many aspects of learning including science.

Fran Bostock, the students' teacher at Otley, was delighted with news of the award.

She said: "For this group of students, it was a magnificent achievement. Both the students and tutors at Otley are proud of the quality of workmanship, commitment and thought that went into this project."

Altogether, 136 people from across the county were due to be presented with Suffolk Achievement Awards tonight.

David Thomas, member of the county council's executive committee, and David Peachey, director of education, were due to make the awards at Northgate Arts Centre in Ipswich.

"I would like to congratulate everyone who has achieved this award," said Mr Thomas.

"The range of challenges undertaken has been very impressive and many have shown a good level of teamwork."


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