Portsmouth primary school pupils delighted as new minibus arrives

Cliffdale Primary Academy pupils with sponsors St James Place, staff of Cliffdale and staff of Variety in front of the new bus '''Picture: Habibur Rahman (180164-6)
Cliffdale Primary Academy pupils with sponsors St James Place, staff of Cliffdale and staff of Variety in front of the new bus '''Picture: Habibur Rahman (180164-6)
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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YOUNGSTERS have celebrated the arrival of a new school minibus, which has been donated by a children’s charity.

Pupils at Cliffdale Primary Academy School in North End were presented with a new minibus by Variety – a charity that aims to improve the lives of children and young people throughout the UK who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged.

The bus, which was also sponsored by wealth management firm St James’s Place, will be used to take students to various extra-curricular activities throughout the area.

The pupils were given the chance to meet and thank the people who helped make the school’s dream a reality, before stepping inside for the first time.

Previously, the school had been using an out-of-date minibus which didn’t suit the students’ requirements.

The new 17-seater bus, which arrived at the school on Friday, will enable more students to be taken off site at once.

Preston Lane, 11, said: ‘We do lots of stuff that I like – we go swimming, horseriding and lots of other things.’

Hannah Watts, 11, said: ‘We do things like swimming and basketball, and went to a tournament in our old bus.

‘We saw it when we arrived at school this morning and it looked good.

‘Nobody has been inside it yet so we are the first.

‘It has our name on the door which is cool. I love new bus because it is brand new and looks great.’

Head of school Ashley Oliver-Catt said: ‘This is the first minibus that we have had donated to us – the old bus was really out of date.

‘It feels great to have the bus donated to us by Variety, because it will have such a big impact on the work we do with the children.

‘We do a lot of exciting and adventurous outdoor activities such as swimming and horseriding – we take the children out a lot and it is really important to us as a school.

‘This minibus means we can increase the number of students we take out on these activities, which is obviously fantastic news.

‘We have been waiting for a new minibus for a really long time, because we have been fundraising it ourselves.

‘In fact, we’ve spent the last five years raising money for our side of the bus.

‘We are incredibly grateful for everyone who has supported us over the years.

‘Without the support of our generous parents and others, I don’t think this project would be off the ground yet, so we owe them and Variety a big thank you.’