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Pupils from special school targeted by vandals enjoy day out at a fun fair thanks to their local police officer
08 May | 12:39
Pupils at a special needs school that was targeted by heartless vandals last year were surprised by their neighbourhood police officer last week - with a trip to a local fun fair.
 
In Easter last year staff, pupils and parents were left devastated after Hadrian School on Bertram Crescent in Benwell was targeted by vandals.
 
Slurs aimed at pupils were painted on the playground, minibus windows were smashed and paint was thrown over specialist play equipment.
 
Following the mindless attacks, the community pulled together and tens of thousands of pounds were raised to help pay for the damage.
 
Police also launched a criminal investigation and recorded the vandalism as a hate crime, however, those responsible were never identified.
 
Pupils at the school have remained in positive spirits and last week their local police officer decided to give them a reward - an access-all-areas trip to a local funfair.
 
PC Paul Westwood had organised the trip with family-run business Clark's Fair who granted the school free access to the fun fair before the gates had even opened.
 
This meant they could enjoy the rides without the large crowds and loud music that make it difficult for pupils and their family to attend such events.
 
PC Westwood today (Wednesday) thanked Clark's Fair for offering the children the opportunity and said he was "proud to be part of their special day".
 
He said: "The Clark family have been holding the fair for a number of years and always liaise with police ahead of their opening.
 
"This year they really wanted to give something back to the local community and so they got in touch with me to see if I could help.
 
"I immediately thought of Hadrian School who have remained so positive despite since the mindless vandalism at the school last year.
 
"The community has rallied round them and I knew that it would be an amazing experience for the children there.
 
"They have a number of complex needs and ordinarily many of these children would not be able to enjoy a day at the fair because of the crowds and loud noises.
 
"But thanks to the generosity of the Clark family they were able to enjoy an incredible day out and I am proud to be part of their special day."
 
Last month PC Westwood was contacted by family-run Clark's Fair who hold a fun fair at Nun's Moor Park in Fenham every May Bank Holiday.
 
They wanted to give back to the community and said to PC Westwood that they could offer a school of his choice free access to the fair.
 
He spoke to the rest of the neighbourhood team and they chose Hadrian School. Owners Emma and William Clark then invited the pupils to attend the fair on Friday between 10am and 12 noon.
 
They also bagged up popcorn and candy-floss for the children to take away with them.
 
Christopher Rollings, headteacher at Hadrian School, said: “We were all so grateful and just this morning one of my staff came to see me to tell me how amazing the day was.
 
“Not only did the kids have a great time but the police and fairground workers were so good that the staff could relax and have a great time too.
 
“We are just so extremely grateful that the officers thought of us and it is overwhelming the kindness we have received from the community.
 
“Sometimes when we work in the school we can forget just how much people outside these walls value the children here.
 
“After the vandalism we had here and everything it is amazing that we continue to get so much support.
 
“We do go out to try and engage with people but when we get unsolicited approaches from the community it really does hit home how much people care.
 
“I want to thank everyone involved at Northumbria Police and the staff at the fun fair. I hope we can continue to build on that relationship in the future.”
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