A new community garden has been created at a Whitley Bay school thanks to the hard work of volunteers.
Pupils, staff and parents at Marden Bridge Middle School have transformed an area of wasteland into a garden of delight.
Work has been completed thanks to a successful bid for a £30,000 grant from Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD).
Headteacher John Newport officially opened the new garden at a special event.
He said: “This has been a real labour of love by everyone concerned and I am immensely proud of what has been achieved with the Marden Community Garden.”
The transformation was carried out by the school’s gardening club, pupils, staff and Parent Teacher Association members.
After the ground was cleared, a 750-square metre area was landscaped as a viewing area with flower beds, fruit trees, vegetable plots and a polytunnel. A prominent feature is a House of Objects Inventions Shed, equipped with fascinating and mind challenging items.
Mr Newport said: “We are particularly grateful to local tree surgeon Matt Leach, of Bigfellers, for providing the table, seating and wood chippings, and also a lot of personal effort.”
He presented an official PTA T-shirt to seven-year-old Finlay, son of PTA treasurer Sarah Bolam, in recognition of his dedicated effort over the previous ten weekends working on the garden.
Mr Newport said: “We hope this place will become a real community learning facility used by other schools and organisations and offering the opportunity for interactive activities in a safe space.”
Sarah Bolam said: “It was wonderful to see so many people at this opening day.
“We received some brilliant advice and ideas from members of the public, which will help the pupils to maintain the garden and enhance the space.”
She added that at the school council’s request the PTA had also completely repainted and refurbished the school library and it had been a privilege to see it officially opened along with the community garden.
The Marden Bridge PTA was formed in 2016 by a group of working mums who wanted to give something back to the school.
As well as transforming the library, they have held fundraising events, including summer fairs, as well as organising a school disco.
A PTA spokesperson said: “The support we receive from Marden Bridge and the parents always exceeds our expectations and we are genuinely very thankful for all the support.”