Pupils can take a special seat to show they need a friend

120293-7187 BENCHES (AN) MRW 25/1/2012 ''Children at the Victory Primary School at Paulsgrove have two very nicely decorated ' friendship benches ' that will allow any pupil who feels rather left out to sit on it with a 'friend' ''Pupils pose for the picture on the new bench ( left to right)  Amy Johnson (9) with Hannah Kirwin (9) ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (120293-7187)
120293-7187 BENCHES (AN) MRW 25/1/2012 ''Children at the Victory Primary School at Paulsgrove have two very nicely decorated ' friendship benches ' that will allow any pupil who feels rather left out to sit on it with a 'friend' ''Pupils pose for the picture on the new bench ( left to right) Amy Johnson (9) with Hannah Kirwin (9) ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (120293-7187)
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CHILDREN will never be short of good company at a primary school where youngsters have designed two ‘friendship benches’.

The colourful new pieces of furniture modelled in the image of Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory and a rainbow are now taking pride of place in the playground of The Victory Primary in Paulsgrove.

120293-7198 BENCHES (AN) MRW 25/1/2012 ''Children at the Victory Primary School at Paulsgrove have two very nicely decorated ' friendship benches ' that will allow any pupil who feels rather left out to sit on it with a 'friend' '''One of the two new benches''Picture: Malcolm Wells (120293-7198)

120293-7198 BENCHES (AN) MRW 25/1/2012 ''Children at the Victory Primary School at Paulsgrove have two very nicely decorated ' friendship benches ' that will allow any pupil who feels rather left out to sit on it with a 'friend' '''One of the two new benches''Picture: Malcolm Wells (120293-7198)

Boys and girls on the school council came up with the idea – so that if someone needed a friend to talk or play with they could sit on the bench and another pupil would sit with them.

And their dream soon became a reality thanks to the support of local artist Steve Porter and the crew of HMS Victory who donated one of the benches, worth £350.

Taylor McCance, 10, said: ‘The friendship benches will help people who are feeling lonely – and they also get to sit on something really colourful.

‘We are so proud of them.’

Jacob Chambers, 10, said: ‘The ship design is my favourite because I like the sails.

‘I always go up to people who look lonely on the friendship bench.’

Amy Johnson. nine, said: ‘It was fun working with the artist and using his special acrylic paints.

‘It’s lovely to see our finished work in the playground.’

Lt Cdr Rod Strathern, who recently took command of HMS Victory, visited the school for the first time this month.

He said: ‘I think the Friendship Bench is a great idea and I look forward to other initiatives in the future which will help to continue to promote the relationship between the ship and the school.’

Peter Sykes, head, added: ‘The purchase of the benches is another example of the excellent relationship we have with HMS Victory.

‘We know they will get very good use from our children.’

The rainbow bench was paid for with prize money from Portsmouth City Council’s recycling design competition last year.