PUPILS at Foundry Lane Primary School in Shirley will be able to enjoy some long-awaited new play equipment once they return to school on Monday.

An official ribbon cutting ceremony took place in the Year R playground this week featuring pupils Freya and Riya.

The professionally installed play area is designed to help improve the children’s balance and core stability, helping their fine motor skills for writing as well as encouraging imaginative play and fun.

It replaces a much-loved boat which had been mended so many times that it was finally condemned.

The £13,000 needed for the work was raised thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Friends of Foundry Lane Primary School, the school's parent teacher association.

The 'Friends' committee had been fundraising for two years, but Covid derailed a number of their events including the Easter Egg Hunt, Summer Fete, Pumpkin Party and Christmas Fair.

Christ Church Freemantle came to the rescue by donating the final £4,000 needed to secure the equipment.

Year R pupils Freya and Riya were joined at the ribbon cutting ceremony by headteacher Sean Taylor, Friends of Foundry Lane chair Kristin Jones and Will Green, the church warden at Christ Church Freemantle.

Mr Green said: "It gives us great pleasure to support schools in the parish and this cause is a great one.”

While deciding on their next big project, the Friends of Foundry Lane continue to fund other resources in the school including books, IT equipment and fun, educational experiences such as theatre group visits.

During the pandemic, the team of volunteers have found socially distanced fundraising ideas including a virtual fayre, online raffle and bauble decorating.