£15,000 British Legion donation boosts Cranwell school library project

A Sleaford armed forces charity is marking its centenary by donating £15,000 to create a school library used by military families.

Receiving the ?15,000 towards the new library for Cranwell School. From left - PTA chairman Eleanor Ward, RBL chairman Major Clive Candlin, Standard bearer Brian Harvey, KS2 english leader Fiona Birchenall and pupils Finlay case, aged five, and Tilly Case, seven. EMN-210719-122613001

The Sleaford and district branch of the Royal British Legion will mark its 100th anniversary on August 3 with a service led by Rev Philip Johnson, starting at 11am, with dignitaries and other veterans’ organisations invited.

The branch is to be awarded a pennant to mark the 100 years, presented by mayor Coun Robert Oates to branch standard bearer, Brian Harvey, followed by an evening event at the Carre Arms Hotel.

Branch chairman Major Clive Candlin said the branch has decided to support Cranwell Primary School, which has a large number of military children attending, to build a library to further the education of the children.

The money comes from a sum left to the branch in 2010 by member, Maxwell Leigh, of Branston, who bequeathed over £20,000 in his will.

“I am just so pleased we have been able to help,” said Major Candlin.

Sixty-two per cent of pupils at the school come from military families and staff can see a turn over of 40 per cent in a year due to reposting of personnel.

Major Candlin and Brian Harvey presented £15,000 on Thursday to chairman of the school PTA Eleanor Ward and Key Stage 2 English leader Fiona Birchenall, towards the £28,000 overall cost of fitting out the library within two of the corridors.

Mrs Birchenall explained the old school library has been severely restricted after phases of rebuilding.

Ms Ward said: “This money is absolutely invaluable as it commits us to put in place the actual library and computer system and the PTA is fundraising for the extra books.

“It is a great end to the year.”

The aim is for joiners to make a start putting in fitted shelves and a new doorway over the summer, to be able to split the new area for guided reading and research at tables, with a computer for checking out books, as well as soft furnishings to curl up and read during free time. The children will learn to be their own librarians and the project should be finished by November.

The PTA eventually hopes to have 1,800 fiction and 1,000 reference books for all ages on the shelves.

It would also be an ideal space for new children from military families to form bonds, as it can be daunting when moving schools regularly.

They hope to find a relative of Maxwell Leigh as they would like to name the library after him.