Children help light up Hightown

Release Date: 24-Mar-2015
There was a carnival atmosphere at Hightown Junior Infant and Nursery School in Liversedge on Thursday (19th March), when around 500 people from the area took part in the school’s first lantern land event.
Up to 100 people took part in the evening and weekend workshops

Up to 100 people took part in the evening and weekend workshops

The finished lanterns light up the night

The finished lanterns light up the night

Hightown pupils were joined by their families and by students and staff from Tilery Primary School in Stockton, who have run a similar event for several years. Local community groups and housing organisations KNH and Connect Housing were also represented.

For the past three weeks, the children and their families have given up their evenings and weekends to take part in craft workshops, led by artists Incy Wood and Christina Holdsworth from community based arts project, Roots & Wings.

The aim of the lantern project was to bring together the whole school and build relationships with families, local businesses and the wider community. The children worked in pairs and small groups to design and build their house-shaped lanterns, using the theme of ‘community’ as their inspiration. Parents also got involved with the project, and staff from local businesses, emergency services, KNH and Connect Housing helped make a large community lantern. KNH and Connect also helped fund the event.

Everyone’s hard work culminated in the lantern land event itself – the finished lanterns were arranged around the grounds with an illuminated pathway between them so everyone could see the creations. Pupils also entertained the crowds with music, poetry and dancing.

One pupil, Bradley, said “I liked how it was so bright. When I was making my lantern, it was a bit hard to begin with but with help it got easier. It was great to see the finished product. It was bright and beautiful and lit up the whole playground.”

Another, Carys said, “Both the event and making them was fun. I loved how it brought all the community together and I enjoyed doing my dancing for the entertainment on the night.”

According to Russell Ingleby, Headteacher at Hightown, “It has been fantastic to see how the school, the families and the community have come together to embrace this project.

“The interaction between parents, children and school staff has been outstanding and the way families got involved in and supported the project exceeded all of our expectations. We’re looking forward to using this as a springboard for future events.”

Friends of Hightown member, Sam Tingle agreed, saying, “It was great to see so many parents taking part – it was a fantastic family and community activity and I’m really looking forward this becoming an annual event.”

The money raised from the sale of refreshments on the day was donated to local charity Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice who provide care and support to children with life shortening conditions and their families across West Yorkshire.

Samantha Roberts, Community Fundraiser at the charity said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Hightown Junior Infant and Nursery School for both supporting and involving us with their amazing lantern land event; we had a great time and the whole evening was fantastic.”
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