A new sensory garden has been created at a Telford school in tribute to a much-loved and missed member of staff.
The garden has pride of place near the entrance to Queensway North School at Hadley Park.
The school caters for children and young people on the autistic spectrum, and those with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.
Julie Bravo, Queensway principal, said: “This is such an important project on many different levels.
“One of our former art teachers, Rahi Rahman, wanted to create a sensory garden for our students but tragically died of a heart attack before it could be completed.
“Being able to involve students and local businesses in bringing his vision to life is a real tribute and memorial to him.
“Our vision at Queensway is to reignite a thirst for learning in our students within a challenging yet inclusive environment, and they have embraced this project with creativity and enthusiasm.”
Rahi worked at the school from 2011 to 2017, and there is a plaque in the sensory garden in his memory which says: “He shook hands with life and made everyone feel welcome.”
The students have helped to create a series of features in the garden which has planters, murals, wall decorations, an arbor, bench and water feature.
“Many of our students have gone through a hard time themselves over the past year,” Julie said. “Some have lost loved ones to Covid-19, so having a space like this where they can take time out is vital.”
A wide range of businesses have sponsored the project, providing vital funds to bring it to life.
They include local companies Rosewood Pet Supplies, Ironbridge Interiors, Roden Nurseries, and Dales Autos, plus major brands such as Wickes, Homebase, Travis Perkins, Dulux, and B&Q.
Wickes Telford Store Manager, Francis Jacombs said: “We’re passionate about our local community and when we heard about Queensway North School and their need for support, we were delighted to be able to step in and provide them with these products. It’s been great to see the school’s new sensory garden come to life, and we welcome any local community group to get in touch to see if we can help with their next project.”
Queensway School is part of the Learning Community Trust, a multi-school academy with primary and secondary sites across the county.
Dr Gill Eatough, executive principal, said: “Our aim at Queensway is to find each child’s individual talent and nurture that.
“We are also passionate about developing their communication and interaction skills through our ever-expanding enrichment activities and creative curriculum offer.
“This project has ticked all of those boxes, and we are grateful to the staff, students – and local businesses – who have helped to create a practical and poignant addition to the campus.”