A FANTASTIC effort from Newnham St Peters pupils, parents, staff and the local community culminated in the opening of the school’s new library this week.
All have rallied over a period of just seven months to raise £10,000 for the new facility, which was created in the summer and officially unveiled on Monday (October 9).
It was opened by local children’s author Andy Seed, who also donated a range of books - including his latest effort which is yet to be released - and gave a speech about the importance of reading, before he cut a ribbon across the library’s reading ‘nook’ to a huge round of applause.
The opening was also attended by parents, representatives of local organisations like Severn Dean Lions and businesses including Newnham-based Hills estate agents, all of which have contributed to the fundraising.
It all started back in January when the school’s Parents, Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA) came up with the idea of starting a fundraising campaign for the new library.
Then on World Book Day in March, the children took on a Sponsored Read challenge, from which they managed to raise £1,000.
Emma of the PTFA explained: “That got the ball rolling and then the whole community began fundraising. We ran bingo evenings, coffee mornings, there was an orchestra concert at the church.
“Then we asked local organisations to help support the library and we were overwhelmed with the community response.
“We raised over £8,000 - all of the organisations, like the Lions and Rotary clubs, gave so generously.
“Then we had one of our mums who ran the London Marathon and raised £2,000.
“It just felt like the whole community came together.”
Headteacher Aga Przybylska said: “The community spirit here - I’m quite new to the area, I’m very new to the school - it’s so incredible just to have all these people supporting us, and especially our PTFA which has worked incredibly hard to make sure that we do get this - it’s literally January that we started talking about the library.
“This has been done with the help of everyone here and this is for our children, and they are all very, very excited about starting to use it.
“We are just wowed by the support of the local community.”
Arthur, Alistair and Oscar from Year 6 said of the new library: “We really like it. It took a lot of fundraising and when our headteacher Miss Przybylska said how much we’d raised, we were really astonished.
Oscar added of its value: “More books means more intelligence, and more learning”.
And Arthur explained: “I don’t think a lot of reception really read before, but now more often as Year 6s we go with them and we like to read them a story, and sometimes they go down to the library and just read, and it’s very nice.”
Author Andy Seed commented: “I think it’s amazing there’s such a great brand new library here, it’s beautifully done.
“I think it’s amazing that the PTFA have invested so much in it and raised so much money, and so many sponsors have contributed to it.
“It’s the children who benefit, and it’s the families because reading is so important - I know as an author I’m biased about that - but I know that books are incredibly powerful, and children who are readers are happy and healthier and more successful.
"So that’s why libraries are so important, because they encourage reading and reading could change your life.”