An iconic school playground plane that was targeted by graffiti vandals in Colwick last summer has been officially reopened by the Mayor of Gedling following repairs and a new paint job designed by pupils.
School pupils and special guests were invited to St John’s C of E School this afternoon (July 26) to watch Councillor Meredith Lawrence, who was recently announced as the borough’s new mayor, cut the ribbon.
Lawrence was joined by pupils Isla Cooke-Smith, 11, and Ella Towle, 8, who won the school competition to have their designs featured on the exterior of the revamped playground attraction.
Pupils will once again be able to use the iconic plane as an outdoor classroom following the refurbishment.
Councillor Lawrence addressed gathered guests and pupils before cutting the ribbon.
He said: “It’s wonderful to see the plane again which I think now looks even better than it did before the graffiti attack with all this wonderful decoration on it.”
Headteacher Rachel Ireland said it was a real ‘community effort’ to get the plane back into use after the vandalism in July 2020 knocked back original plans to get the outdoor classroom repaired.
She told Gedling Eye: “At the beginning of July last year we were awarded a grant from Colwick Parish Council to refurbish the plane and we were ready to use the money on that before it got seriously vandalised.
“Meredith, in his role as councillor and also governor of the school, managed to secure some money from Gedling Borough Council to get the graffiti removed.
“We a bit concerned as the plane needed to be repainted and to make it look great then we knew we would need some more investment. Luckily Jenny Eurge, who is Netherfield locality co-ordinator, and Meredith found most of the money needed but we were still around £500 short. Some of our parents then raised the rest by setting up a crowdfunding page and got us what was needed.
“It’s been a real community project as everyone felt that it’s such an iconic part of a school at Colwick and that it was worth the extra investment.”
To decorate the plane exterior, two designs were selected from hundreds of entries submitted by pupils of all ages who attend the school.
“It was hard decision to make: there are 210 pupils at the school and all were invited to submit a design.
“Both myself and the then-deputy head had to sift through all the entries and we got managed to get it down to 14 designs, with the staff then voting for the winners without knowing the names of the pupils selected.”
“Isla, who was one of the winners, leaves our school this summer so it’s been nice that she is leaving us with a lasting legacy.”