Sailors delight as they spend day at school

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PUPILS at an infants school were delighted as Royal Navy sailors paid them a visit.

Four sailors from HMS Collingwood downed tools and picked up books as they read to the youngsters at Rowner Infant School in Gosport yesterday.

27/03/14  BF''Sailers from HMS Collingwood visited Rowner Infants School in Gosport where they helped the children with their reading and writing. PO Chris Potter with (left to right), Billy Toastivine (seven), Chris's daughter Jasmine Potter (five) and Grace Money (seven).'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (14870-1) PPP-140327-162302003

27/03/14 BF''Sailers from HMS Collingwood visited Rowner Infants School in Gosport where they helped the children with their reading and writing. PO Chris Potter with (left to right), Billy Toastivine (seven), Chris's daughter Jasmine Potter (five) and Grace Money (seven).'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14870-1) PPP-140327-162302003

Grace Money, seven, a Year 2 pupil at the school was excited to see the sailors. She said: ‘What’s good about the sailors is they’re in the school and I’ve never seen them in the school before.’

Petty Officer Chris Potter, a Above Water Tactical Training instructor, was leading the group from the base in Fareham.

He is a school governor and took the chance to read to his daughter Jasmine, five, and to others at the school.

He said: ‘We were spread out in different classrooms, sitting down to do some reading.

‘They were very excited that we are here. They were quite loud early in the morning.’

They spent the whole day at the school, where 30 per cent of pupils are from a forces family.

The youngsters got a chance to read to them, along with practising their writing skills.

Seven-year-old Billy Toastivine was reading with the sailors.

He said: ‘It’s good because I like them being here.’

And it wasn’t just the youngsters who were enjoying the day.

Petty Officer Busta Brown is hoping to become a teacher when he leaves the navy in five years.

PO Brown said: ‘I want to be a teacher when I leave.

‘I jumped at the chance to be here – it’s good.’

All four of them, including PO Matthew Sommerville and PO Paul Stockell, were even dragged into doing playground duty by the excited youngsters.

Debra Redpath is the head teacher at the school.

She said with an all-female staff it’s important to break down stereotypes and get men involved in reading, not just sport.

She said: ‘It’s inspirational and gives them something to aspire to.’

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