Pupils’ magic portal to a fantasy world

Artist Harry Iley with some of the children at Flying Bull Primary. From left: Jake Needham (10), Jake Quinnell (11), Courtney Culbertson (11) and Chantelle Field (11). Picture: Sarah Standing (121106-4705)
Artist Harry Iley with some of the children at Flying Bull Primary. From left: Jake Needham (10), Jake Quinnell (11), Courtney Culbertson (11) and Chantelle Field (11). Picture: Sarah Standing (121106-4705)

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It sounds like the stuff of sci-fi films – but primary schoolchildren’s imaginations are escaping into a fictional world through a portal located in their back garden.

A 6ft mural which represents a foreign planet with various moons and a golden wishing tree at its centre is the work of nine to 11-year-olds at Flying Bull Primary in Buckland.

The creative boys and girls were helped by Southsea-based urban artist Harry Iley, 25, who took their ideas from another dimension and directed the magnificent waterproof tableau.

Jake Quinnell, 11, says: ‘I helped paint the wishing tree and I think the finished piece looks fantastic.

‘It’s made our environmental area much more creative and interesting.

‘We’ve already got lots of flowers and bird houses, and now we have a gateway to another dimension, which gives an even greater sense of adventure.’

Jake Needham, 10, who dressed as a penguin ready to explore wintry, uncharted territory, says: ‘I painted the bricks along the right hand side and I really enjoyed it.

‘I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I doubt other schools have something as exciting as our magic portal.

‘My favourite part is the sky, because it is really colourful and bright.

‘When I look at the portal I travel into my own world. I think it will inspire me to be more creative.

‘I’d imagine myself as a hero, fighting monsters and keeping the good people safe from harm.

‘I’ve always loved adventure books and films and now I’ve got my own real life adventure.’

Courtney Culbertson, 11, who was made up like a fairy, adds: ‘This mural is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done – my idea was the sky.

‘It’s so impressive and magical and I feel as though I could be a fairy in it.’

The mural, which already boasts an impressive outdoor space with a classroom, recycled greenhouse, orchard and allotments, is being enjoyed by children of all ages at Flying Bull.

Georgina Mulhall, deputy head, says: ‘The environmental area, where the mural is located, is looking really pretty. The children have worked really hard to transform it.

‘The mural is wonderfully large and inspired by the children and Harry’s support enabled the children to be ambitious with their design.’