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'Forest School' troubled by fires and littering

Repeated fires and littering which ruined a preschool children’s outdoor activities area have caused their head-teacher to call for an end to the damage.

Though children at St Mary’s Preschool, in Brookdene Close, worried damage caused over the past two weeks to their ‘Forest School’ in North Town Moor meant it would be shut for a while, a community warden has tidied the mess.

However, Michelle Truman, 39, the preschool head, has called on those living or passing nearby to look out for anyone causing damage to the site in the future, as it is a regular occurrence.

Staff at St Mary’s have used the small patch of woodland for children aged between three and five to go on bug hunts and learn about nature.

Over the past five years, it has been the site of campfires which have scorched the ground, branches used by the children for activities have been broken off and plastic bottles have been strewn about the site.

Ms Truman said the Forest School is supported by the National Trust, which maintains the site. Staff even set up a sign to alert people to the fact it was used by the school, but that was burned, too.

“It makes me feel really sad,” Michelle said as she inspected further damage to the site on Monday. “It is just disrespect for the environment really. The children really were affected by it. A couple of our little ones came back crying.”

Michelle believed those who had lit the fires and left litter were in their late teens or early twenties, as they had been seen by people living nearby.

She was concerned the site would have to be shut ahead of the Neverland Festival fundraiser on Wednesday, May 24, although it is now expected to go ahead. The pupils will go to the site dressed as fairies and pixies as part of an event to raise money for a mud kitchen for the preschool.

Anyone with information about the vandalism can contact the preschool on 01628 627013 or community wardens on 01628 685636.

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