SPRAY-PAINTING the walls of a naval base would normally be frowned upon.
But schoolchildren were given the chance to do just that on the walls of a gym used by sailors to decorate it with inspirational messages and art. Using spray-paints, the youngsters covered the walls of the HMS Nelson gym with motivational words and drawings yesterday.
They were given a crash course in spray-painting techniques by a professional artist before being let loose on the blank walls.
Physical training instructor Paddy Stephens, 34, said: ‘I never thought I would be stood here watching people spray-paint a military gym.
‘It’s brilliant. It’s been amazing to see the kids come in and get on with it.
‘We wanted a couple of things on the walls but everything else they have come up with themselves. It’s a big community thing and from a navy perspective that’s what we wanted to do.
‘For someone like myself, I look at this place like it’s my home, so it’s nice to have them come in to do this for us.’
The pupils were all taking part in the Passport to Success scheme, run by Portsmouth’s Lord Mayor Cheryl Buggy.
They came from St John’s College in Southsea and St Edmund’s School in Landport.
Cllr Buggy said: ‘It’s a really nice partnership. It gives the young people the opportunity to have a new experience.
‘They are doing something good and productive and for a good cause, for the sailors to enjoy before they go on deployment. Hopefully they will look at their finished work with pride.’
Next week another group of students will be decorating the walls at Fratton Park.
George Facey, 13, from St Edmund’s School in Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s good for us because it’s fun and we get to try new things.
‘Not everybody gets to paint on walls. I keep thinking I’m going to be told off, though.’