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Key lessons from a natural classroom

PUBLISHED: 20:08 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:29 14 July 2010

Youngsters with their natural classroom.

Youngsters with their natural classroom.

Children at Hingham Primary School will be enjoying lessons underneath royal willow trees in a living outdoor classroom this summer, thanks to a donation from a local house builder and The Friends of Hingham School.

Children at Hingham Primary School will be enjoying lessons underneath royal willow trees in a living outdoor classroom this summer, thanks to a donation from a local house builder and The Friends of Hingham School.

Abel Homes, which is building 33 new homes at Bell Meadow in the town, agreed to match funds raised by the school's Friends, enabling the building of a living willow classroom - and children even helped build it.

The structure - made with willows cut from the royal estate at Sandringham - includes a covered dome and a fenced area, and is planted so that it continues to grow over the years. It was built by Wisbech-based Living Willow, who demonstrated the willow weaving techniques to the children and encouraged them to take part in the construction.

Headteacher Valerie Lucas said: “The new structure will provide a shaded area for outdoor teaching and play in our grounds. It is the ultimate in green buildings - being a living structure it will even have a negative carbon footprint. The Friend of Hingham has worked hard to fundraise towards the willow room, and we are very grateful to Abel Homes for agreeing to match the Friends' contribution, which has enabled us to have it built in time to be used this year.”

Handing over a cheque for £726, Maggie Abel, director of Abel Homes, said: “We love to get involved in the communities in which we live and work, and investing in the young people of a town like Hingham is vital for it to continue to be a thriving and vibrant place.

“The houses we are building at Bell Meadow are family homes, so no doubt the people who move in later this year will end up being members of the Hingham Primary School community. We hope they will enjoy the willow room that we have helped to fund.”

Abel Homes is building 33 homes on Bell Meadow in the centre of Hingham. The show home will open in May, and the first homes will be ready for people to move into in June or July.

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