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Philip Evans


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OTTERY: School’s new library on wheels rolls into town

Thursday, 21 August 2014

A LONDON bus rolled into Ottery last week - but not to pick up passengers for a trip to the capital. The double-decker was heaved onto the playing field at Ottery St Mary Primary School on Thursday morning, and will remain on the playground all year as the latest educational tool for youngsters. Part of plans to reorganise facilities at the school, the bus has been cleared out for use as a walk-in library, and will soon be fully stocked with books and teaching equipment. Meanwhile, the existing library space will be converted into an extra dining room for serving lunchtime meals. Headmaster Mark Gilronan came up with the idea after reading about a similar project at another school, and found a suitable vehicle in Northfleet, Kent. After a 160-mile trip, the bus was heaved onto the school playing field on Thursday morning, and is on course to be opened to pupils for the start of the academic year in September. Mr Gilronan said: “We decided to turn the current library into an overflow dining space and when we were looking at options for where the facility could be moved, we felt it would be a shame for us to have to lose another room. “The idea had stuck with me for a few years, and hopefully it will be an exciting change for the children to have their library in a bus.” Staff and pupils have been fundraising for the bus since Easter, taking on sponsored challenges and collecting donations from local people. And they managed to raise more than £5,000, which has helped to pay for the bus and have it transported from London. Mr Gilronan added: “The children helped to organise a number of sponsored events over the last few months of term. We ran cakes sales and even held our own ‘Tar Barrels’ event, where the children dressed as their favourite book characters and ran with small cider barrels. “That, along with some standout donations from members of the community, has enabled us to bring the bus to the school. “But it is the children’s library now – they have put a lot of work into it.”

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