Tribute to couple who “devoted years” to Forest school

By Forester Reporter   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 29th June 2022 10:31 am
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Kay Smith, the daughter of Maurice and Doreen Bent, and Cllr Terry Hale cut the ribbon on the gazebo. ()

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A WOODEN gazebo, built to honour the memory of a couple who devoted years of their lives to a Forest school was officially “opened” on Friday (June 24).

Both Maurice Bent and his wife Doreen were former pupils of Ruardean Woodside Primary School but the link lasted a lifetime.

Mr Bent was a governor of the school for 30 years and often did jobs around the school and Mrs Bent was also a well-loved face around the school.

The gazebo was built by Cinderford-based carpenter Alan Meredith using local materials.

Pupils started fund-raising after school administrator Gina Matthews and business manager Nicola Phelps came up with the idea of a structure for the playing field.

Among the fund-raisers was a “Going for Gold” day where children tried different sports.

The pupils raised just over £2,000 which was added to £2,500 donated by local county councillor Terry Hale from Gloucestershire Council’s Build Back Better fund.

Mr and Mrs Bent’s children, Kay and Martin, have also donated money to the school in lieu of funeral flowers.

Kay Smith joined Cllr Hale to cut a ribbon watched by pupils, staff and parents.

Mrs Smith said her parents would be “overwhelmed” by the tribute.

She added: “It’s wonderful, a beautiful piece of art in the school playground that everyone will be able to enjoy – the children and all the groups that use the school as well.”

Headteacher Mrs Mel Davis said: “It’s a lovely space for outdoor activities and a real celebration of Mr and Mrs Bent.”

She also thanked Mrs Phelps and Mrs Matthews without whose help the project would not have been possible.

Chair of governors Mr David Wildin said: “All the people involved in your local community – parents, grandparents and ex-pupils – who give time to help you is what make schools like this so special.

The gazebo has already been used for outdoor lessons and last week local Brownies used it when they sang to parents.


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