Pupils at two Sunderland schools were given an early Christmas present when Green Santa dropped in and presented them with a cheque for £250 after winning a north east competition.
Local bus operator, Stagecoach North East invited school children across the north east to write a letter to Green Santa to ask for environmentally-friendly presents for their school, and St Mary’s RC Primary School and Grindon Hall Christian School were selected as the winners for Sunderland.
Lucy, a year 4 pupil at St Mary’s RC Primary School and member of the school’s outdoor action team said in her letter to Green Santa: “I would love to have outdoor recycling bins for my school, as we have worked very hard and even have the Green Flag award.”
Pupils Callum, year 6, and Oliver, year 5, added: “We’ve been saving energy, litter picking and protecting nature and we would like more bins to stop us from having to pick up litter so often.”
After meeting Green Santa, Joshua, year 2 said: “I like to look after the environment so I enjoyed writing to Green Santa. I loved meeting him and receiving my special gift.”
Miss Kathryn Watt, Year 3 teacher at St Mary’s RC Primary School, said: “The children at St Mary’s work so hard to look after the environment so it was a wonderful treat for them to meet Green Santa and to be awarded for all of their hard work.”
At Grindon Hall Christian School, the winning letters penned by Year 2 and Year 4 pupils asked Green Santa for some new grass bins for when the grass falls off the lawnmower. They also wish to create an ‘animal-friendly’ space with bird feeders and a climbing frame for the squirrels and a look out shed to spot the wildlife.
Mrs Joanne Maw, Principal at Grindon Hall Christian School, said: “The children have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Green Santa competition; they thought incredibly carefully about how best to have a positive impact on the environment. We kept the fact they had won as a surprise until they met Green Santa in person; their reaction was simply wonderful!”
Grindon Hall Christian School pupil Lucy King, from Year 4, wrote: “I am writing to you because sadly a few years ago about 23 trees were knocked down and the poor birds and squirrels need a home. So we need bird feeders and things for squirrels to play on.”
Steve Walker, Managing Director, Stagecoach North East, said: “The Green Santa campaign enables us to support our local schools and help educate children to become more environmentally aware, and our Green Santa has certainly captured their imagination.
“The entries this year were impressive and the schools obviously work hard to develop the green initiatives with much success, so we would like to give our thanks to everyone who entered the competition. Our congratulations go to both primary schools for their excellent entries and we are delighted to be able to help their eco-programme even further.”