Looking rosy again for school’s garden

Pupils Cameron Docherty and Reece Cooper accept a cheque from Elaine MacDonald as head teacher John Morley, left, and ASN assistant Billy Gray look on
Pupils Cameron Docherty and Reece Cooper accept a cheque from Elaine MacDonald as head teacher John Morley, left, and ASN assistant Billy Gray look on

An award-winning school garden which was vandalised has been restored to its former glory after the community rallied round to help.

Pupils at Firpark Secondary in Motherwell were devastated after two random acts of violence in as many weeks in early summer. The polytunnels, where youngsters learn to grow produce from seed, were slashed in numerous places, making it impossible to look after young plants.

The garden has featured on television’s Beechgrove Garden and Firpark pupils won two gold awards and one silver in the prestigious Gardening Scotland show at Edinburgh’s Ingliston this year.

The school has more than 150 pupils with a wide range of additional support needs. For the last four years it has developed polytunnels and raised beds where they grow fruit and vegetables. Much of this produce is served in the school’s bistro, which is open to the public.

Head teacher John Morley said: “Seeing the damage was very upsetting for the pupils and staff who work so hard to maintain the garden.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the response from the local community to repair this damage. We have had generous donations from Motherwell Community Group, Wishaw Multiple Sclerosis Group and Bellshill butcher Sandy Cooper while Motherwell South Parish Church ran a series of coffee mornings and donated the profits to the school.

“We also received a substantial anonymous donation and Wilko in Motherwell donated seeds, plants and compost.”

Staff at North Lanarkshire Council’s transport depot in Bellshill also contributed and Elaine MacDonald, Shona Brown and Mary Bryan from the depot went along to the school to see the garden and present their cheque.

Elaine said: “One of the mechanics at the depot now works as an ASN assistant at Firpark and told us about the vandalism.

“We donate the takings from our tuck shop to charity and thought Firpark school could use the money to repair the damage to their garden, as we know how important the garden is to the school and its pupils.

“It was a pleasure to present the cheque to some of the pupils and I hope the money will help restore the garden to its former glory.”

Mr Morley thanked everyone who helped out. He said: “This fabulous response will ensure that the damage can be repaired and the pupils will once more enjoy their horticulture classes.”