Village school bakes its way to top award

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Published Date: 

20 Jul 2017 - 18:03

BAKING more than 40 Christmas cakes for every retired resident in their village has won Clachan Primary School a top award.

Clachan is the winner of the Active Participation in the Community Award from the Argyll College UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands).

It is in recognition of a tradition dating back more than two decades that sees the school, which has just eight pupils, bake Christmas cakes for every retired member of their community.

Clachan has been honoured alongside Calum Ellis of Dalintober Primary and Emma Bannatyne of Campbeltown Grammar, who both win Inspirational Young Person of the Year awards.

The children bake around 44 cakes, which are individually wrapped, personally labelled for each individual and hand delivered.

They start in November, the Parent Council pays for the ingredients and the staff give up their own time to help ensure the huge baking challenge is completed.

Head Teacher Lucy Blake said: “This award focuses on our Christmas Cake activity; this is not a new initiative, it is something that has happened in the school for more than 20 years. We feel we are trustees of a tradition. The award recognises our links to the community and this is hugely important to us at Clachan. We are a school in the heart of the community and in the hearts of the community.

“I am very proud of our very small school.”

Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, congratulated the school: “Very well done to everyone at Clachan on winning this prestigious award.

“Their Christmas cake project keeps traditions alive; just as importantly it links the children to the older members of their community and helps everyone in the village feel included.

“I’m delighted too for Calum and Emma. This is rightly deserved recognition – they have shown themselves to be role models for their fellow pupils and a real inspiration to others.

“Well done all – well deserved.”

Ann Marie Knowles, Executive Director of Community Services, said: “These are terrific achievements and Emma, Calum and all the Clachan staff and pupils should be incredibly proud of their efforts. I’m sure I speak for everyone at Argyll and Bute Council when I say that we are very proud of them. They are a real credit to their schools, their communities, their families and their friends.”

The awards were established by Argyll College UHI’s Campbeltown centre to recognise the efforts of individual pupils and groups, and at the same time promote the College and the options it offers to young people across the area.

Emma was nominated by her school for overcoming sudden and serious ill health, remaining positive even when very unwell and excelling in her exams to win a place at the Royal Conservatoire Scotland.

Calum won for his positive attitude, his many volunteering activities at school, and being a good role model and ‘playground buddy’. 

Argyll College UHI principal Fraser Durie, who presented Emma with her award at the Grammar school prizegiving, said the new scheme was a fantastic way for the College to further engage with the local community and, in particular, its schools.

 “I’m delighted the Campbeltown Centre has established these awards because it’s impossible to understate the impact which having inspirational peers can have on young people. Too often these pupils who give so much to others go unrecognised.  It’s great that schools and communities in the Campbeltown area now have a means through which they can get the recognition they deserve.”

 At Clachan as part of the project the children learn about ingredients and the global nature of food, and they make displays about their learning, such as the miles their ingredients travel.

Lucy Blake said the Christmas cakes are anticipated by the recipients.

“For some older members of the community, buying a Christmas cake for one would be expensive and for others it is a link to the school where they and their family went as children. The fact each is named individually adds to the sense of caring for each person. We receive thank you cards which tell us how appreciated the cakes are. Christmas can be a lonely time too. We hope that letting everyone know they are thought of is a way to show that we care.”