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Staff and pupils at Invergordon blaze-hit school 'overwhelmed' by support; Park Primary head teacher offers heartfelt thanks for help


By Hector MacKenzie

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Park Primary head teacher Karen Cox.
Park Primary head teacher Karen Cox.

THE major impact of well-wishers spurred into action by the traumatic plight of pupils and staff at an Easter Ross primary gutted by a devastating blaze has been recognised by a grateful head teacher.

When fire ripped through Park Primary in Invergordon last week, individuals, schools and businesses well beyond the immediate Easter Ross community swung into action with practical offers of support.

Pupils are now being educated within Invergordon Academy and at the town’s South Lodge Primary after contingency measures were rapidly put into place as smoke still climbed from the building.

Councillors John Finlayson and Bill Lobban with Max Campbell, Oliwia Maczynska and Archie Noble from Park Primary.
Picture: Callum Mackay
Councillors John Finlayson and Bill Lobban with Max Campbell, Oliwia Maczynska and Archie Noble from Park Primary. Picture: Callum Mackay

Speaking to the Ross-shire Journal, Park head teacher Karen Cox said: “The local community leapt into action to support families to ensure items lost in the fire were replaced. The school community are hugely indebted to Invergordon Co-operative, Ross-shire Taxis, Morrison’s in Alness and High Life Highland at Invergordon Leisure Centre, to name a few of the organisations who helped in the effort to support families.

“The activities laid on by Invergordon Leisure Centre during the two days that children were unable to attend school were particularly appreciated. So many individuals donated items along with a number of schools who made their own collections to support. Many thanks to Ross County Football Club and Road Safety Scotland who provided pens, pencils, water bottles, among other items.”

She added: “It was lovely to see all the delighted faces and genuine appreciation as the children showed off their new belongings at school on Thursday, February 26.

“Teachers have received support from the public and colleagues in other schools too. They received kind donations of lunch from local businesses and extend sincere thanks to the facilities management team who pulled out all the stops by working long hours to ensure every child had a table and chair to sit at on Thursday morning.

“A local primary school set up a teacher buddy system to ensure Park Primary teachers were able to access resources to ensure continuity of learning and teaching for learners.”

She voiced gratitude to everyone who supported the school after the Monday, February 24blaze. Schools have also shared resources leaving staff “overwhelmed” by the generosity that they have received.

She thanked Invergordon Academy and South Lodge Primary “who welcomed us in with open arms and made space to accommodate us”.

Writer David Walliams, The Birmingham Theatre Company and Eden Court invited children and teachers from P1 to P7 to join them for a performance of Billionaire Boy, with D & E coaches providing the transport.

Miss Ellen MacPhee, a teacher at Park Primary said: “I think it was just what they needed, and it was nice that we all got to have a nice wee day out together after everything that has happened.”

The school hopes to organise some fundraising events linked to the offers of help extended to them in the near future.

Mrs Cox added: “We will need to find a way of saying thank you properly to everyone who has offered kind words and so much support once the dust settles, but in the meantime, I would like to say heartfelt thanks to everyone for everything that you have done! It is thanks to you we were able to reopen the school within 72 hours of the fire.”

Related: Pictures: Blaze devastates Easter Ross primary

Highland business offers vouchers to every pupil affected by blaze

Union launches probe over laptop at centre of blaze



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