December 15th 2019
Hello my lovelies.
Last week I met an amazing group of children from Kilnhurst Primary School in Rotherham. When the rain fell back in November, the school was completely flooded and the children still have not yet been able to return. Headteacher, Mr Cousins told me that although many people are working around the clock to get the school open, it will take some time before the doors can open again.
The children of Kilnhurst Primary School now attend two different primary schools, Swinton Fitzwilliam and Swinton Brookfield. Speaking exclusively to three children, Isabelle (11), Holly (8) and Bailey (11), I was given a real insight as to how their lives have changed.
Bailey told me that the morning routine is now a little trickier. All the children from the school have to meet at Kilnhurst Community Centre just before 9 am each day and then they board a coach to take them to their temporary schools. Isabelle, added that this is tough for her as she and her 7 year old brother are attending different schools at the moment. She says that she sometimes worries about him during the day. Holly said that the even though the classrooms can feel a bit smaller the children are quite happy in their new schools.
What struck me listening to the three children was how resilient, positive and upbeat they ar
e. They all said how welcoming the staff and children at Swinton Fitzwilliam and Swinton Brookfield have been and how many new friends they have made. Hearing how the other schools have taken the children in reminded me of the Christmas Story - when the kind inkeeper gave Mary and Joseph a roof over their heads in their time of need. I think the kindness and warmth the children from Kilnhurst have received from their peers is something that will stay with them for a lifetime.
Outside agencies in the Yorkshire community have also been very generous. For example, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park recently gave many free tickets to the children and families at Kilnhurst Primary. Bailey, Holly and Isabelle all went to the Wildlife Park and loved seeing the animals. Holly and Isabelle said they couldn’t believe how loud the lions roar was while Bailey really enjoyed watching the Meerkats play.
Riding home on my mobility scooter, I had such a wonderful smile upon my face. I had met some fantastic young people dealing with being evacuated from their school with such positivity. I also felt that, here in South Yorkshire, we have the kindest folk with the warmest earts. People, young and old opening their doors to those in need and showing such generosity towards them. I thought to myself - “Granny Norbag, that is Christmas right there, in that school and in our wider South Yorkshire Community."
I’m also trying to do my bit for the flood appeal. I have teamed up with South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation and recorded a Christmas single with Rotherham’s St Bede’s School Choir. Many people have asked how they can help so I have broken it down into three simple steps.
Step 1 - Place a bucket under your school, work, or family Christmas tree and listen to my song 'Under The Christmas Tree.' Step 2 - Collect pennies in the bucket. Step 3 - Pay the pennies to South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation Flood Appeal via https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/syfloods
Toodle pip for now, Granny Norbag