Pupils have been upcycling waste to trim a tree for the Winter Gardens Christmas Tree Festival to raise money for repairs and renovations to the iconic landmark.

Year 7 and 8 pupils entered into the spirit of the season by teaming up with the Rotary Club of Blackpool to take part in the annual fundraising event – which also marked the launch of the school’s Festive Winter Giving Programme, during which pupils demonstrate their contributions to the wider community through charitable actions.

Both the school and Rotarians are passionate about serving others and looking after the environment so, to highlight the waste and environmental damage caused by the festivities, the team only used recycled and repurposed materials as possible to decorate their tree.

Decorations were fashioned using unwanted packaging, wood offcuts, old magazines and newspapers, ribbons, pipe cleaners and glitter from last year’s Christmas activities, bottle tops, bottles, plastic cups, straws, plastic plates, used light bulbs and fallen branches from a tree in a teacher’s garden.

Following the Christmas tree festival, the decorations will then be put into hampers to be sent to local elderly people living in isolation, care homes, the Streetlife charity and to guests at the school’s Community Tea Party.

In addition, the Highfield Helpers and South Shore Community Partnership Craft Group made ‘in loving memory’ baubles for the Highfield Community Christmas tree, which members of the public will be invited to personalise and dedicate to past loved ones ahead of the lights switch on at the Old Library Community Centre, on Highfield Road, on Friday 7 December, from 4.30-6.30pm.

Year 8 Pupil Sam Charleston said:

“Mrs Thompson asked our classes to help with our Festive Winter Gift Programme, which is about helping our local community and helping us to be kind to each other at Christmas. We have been making decorations for the competition and after that they will be put into hampers for local people who may be on their own at Christmas. We are so happy that our decorations will bring light into so many lives.”

Technology Teacher Angela Hallum said:

“Many of us are already busily preparing for Christmas.  Lots of us will be buying presents for family and friends and stocking up on new decorations so that our homes will be full of light and sparkle.  However, for many, Christmas is a difficult time of great expense and, if we are honest, a time of great waste! Many people in our community will be struggling this Christmas and might be feeling left out in the dark, some of us will be feeling guilty about the amount of waste we have produced. So we thought why don’t we use this opportunity to raise money for a great local cause, bring light into as many homes as possible and to encourage people to look after our local people and environment and we decided to reuse, recycle and upcycle waste items from our Academy and homes and turn them into decorations.”

TREE FOR ALL: Aimee Sandvig, Ruby Marple, Sumaiyah Chowdhury and Sam Charleston