Royal seal of approval for local school project

THERE were celebrations at Meadow Bridge Primary School this week after Prince Charles gave the school’s ‘Built Heritage’ project the royal seal of approval.

The school entered the Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s ‘Opening Doors To The Future’ competition and were one of eight schools who attended the final at Armagh Planetarium last Friday.

On the day the school set up a display of their project, which looked at the history of St James’ Church of Ireland, as well as the tourist potential of the church, which is directly opposite the Hillsborough school.

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“We had to find out the history of the building, we found out the skills we would use to conserve it and what tourist brochures we would produce,” explained P3 teacher Colleen Compton, who attended the awards final with pupils Hannah Davey and Emilee Hanna, as well as fellow P3 teacher Ruth Lapin.

Much to their surprise Prince Charles was a special guest at the event and the children were thrilled to have the opportunity to speak to him.

“After lunch we were told Prince Charles was coming,” continued Colleen.

“The children were overwhelmed. He was very nice.

“He chatted away and joked with the children.”

After listening to a speech given by Prince Charles, the results of the nationwide competition were announced.

BBC presenter Mark Carruthers announced that Meadow Bridge had scooped the top prize in the competition and they were presented with their award by Environment Minister Alex Attwood.

The school were also delighted to win the ‘People’s Choice’ award with a fantastic 54% of the vote. As well as their trophy, the school won vouchers for Waterstones and Currys/PC World.

“We were presented with a beautiful Georgian door,” explained Colleen.

“The man who made it spoke to us and it turned out he had family connections with St James’ Church as his aunt and uncle had been caretakers and lived next door to the church.

“No one realised how big a competition it was and the children are still on top of the world,” she added.

There was also success for another local school, with Rowandale Integrated Primary School in Moira taking the second place slot for their project on Clarehill Lime Kilns.