Pupils at two Newcastle schools are welcoming the New Year with a host of ‘green’ goodies for the youngsters to enjoy after Green Santa dropped in and presented them with a cheque for £250 for 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 Milecastle Primary School and St Charles’ RC Primary School were selected as the winners for Newcastle.
Milecastle Primary School Year 6 pupil Dayne Dickinson McCready said in a letter to Green Santa: “I am writing to you to ask you to help make our school a greener place. In order to do that we would like to ban single use plastic bottles from school. Therefore, could you help us by providing every child with a re-usable bottle? Plastic is exterminating sea life from the ocean, littering the beach and it looks disgusting.”
On winning the competition, Mrs Suzanne Richardson, Acting Head Teacher at Milecastle Primary School, said: “The children were absolutely thrilled to hear the good news that they had won, and even more impressed when Green Santa came to visit. The money will be used to purchase re-usable water bottles for every child in school to help reduce the number of plastic bottles being thrown away or recycled. In School the children are committed to doing what they can to help the environment, so this was a great competition to enter as it really inspired them.”
At St Charles’ RC Primary School, the winning letters penned by pupils asked Green Santa for a fire pit so they can become a forest school and cook home grown food, as well as some solar panels so they can get energy from the sun and not fossil fuels, and a composter.
Tom Aldridge, a Year 5 pupil at St Charles’ RC Primary School and member of the schools’ eco council, said: “Our school is very committed to helping our environment and we do lots of things to help, such as recycling bins made from cardboard and we encourage green transport.”
Fellow pupil and eco council member Anna Matthews from Year 2, added: “A composter would help us because when the cooks have finished and they are tidying, they can put the food waste in the composter, which will help make our school greener and better.”
Following the visit by Green Santa, St Charles’ RC Primary School teacher, Mrs Georgia Ross, said: “It was great to get involved in the Green Santa competition. The children put a lot of thought into their letters and it generated a lot of discussion about what would make our school more eco-friendly. It was nice to see their hard work rewarded and they were incredibly excited when they saw Green Santa’s sack of goodies!”
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.”