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Schoolboy's sensory garden at Priory Belvoir Academy, Bottesford nearly complete after raising over £7,000



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After months of hard work and fundraising, a schoolboy is now looking to put the finishing touches on a sensory garden.

Clem Beardmore, aged 13, raised over £7,000 to develop a sensory garden at his school, the Priory Belvoir Academy in Bottesford.

The garden has been created on previously derelict land on the school site, and is now a colourful and calming space for pupils to enjoy.

Kate, Spike and Clem sat on the clementine bench in the far corner of the garden. (56807923)
Kate, Spike and Clem sat on the clementine bench in the far corner of the garden. (56807923)

Clem began fundraising back in June 2021, and has organised a great number of initiatives to collect money for the sensory garden.

He ran a tuck shop in school and cycled around Rutland Water with his deputy headteacher, John Miller.

Clem also put together a raffle, with 60 donated prizes from local residents and businesses, and a non-uniform day, which raised a total of over £1,000.

Kate, Spike and Clem in the sensory garden. (56807917)
Kate, Spike and Clem in the sensory garden. (56807917)

The garden, now used by the school for counselling and reading sessions, has a wide range of wooden furniture to sit on, a plethora of plants and wildflowers and places for insects, birds and even hedgehogs to enjoy.

Clem said he was happy with how the project had turned out and that his favourite part of the sensory garden was the clementine bench.

He said gardening was “fun” and when asked what his friends make of the garden, he said: “they think it’s great!"

Clem's mum, Kate, and his younger brother, Spike, helped out with the project. Kate said: “Us three have done an awful lot between us. People have been really good."

The sensory garden site before it was developed. (56807941)
The sensory garden site before it was developed. (56807941)

Ben Rushbrook from Creative Landscapes and NM Landscapes in Caythorpe both provided three and a half days each of free labour to do all of the hard landscaping for the garden.

Clem said: “We’ve got a little corner where lot’s of animals go. We found a hedgehog there. It's got loads of wild flowers scattered around and we’re going to put in a hedgehog cave in there."

“I was selling chocolate bars and sweets at school, I ran “guess how many sweet are in the jar” and with my deputy headteacher, I cycled around Rutland Water.”

A view of the garden and wilderness area in the background. (56807926)
A view of the garden and wilderness area in the background. (56807926)

The bike ride was around 18 miles, and Clem even went vegetarian for a week to raise money, but he did not enjoy that part of the fundraising.

Bottesford Parish Council donated £2,500 to the garden, while the local church gave £500 to purchase one of the picnic benches.

Kate said: “It was nice to have £7,000. We’ve stretched it a long way because people have given their time and labour for free. The extra money has allowed us to do it properly.

Spike and Clem sat on the memorial bench for Anna Watson. (56807920)
Spike and Clem sat on the memorial bench for Anna Watson. (56807920)

“The teachers have been really supportive. They’ve given us basically a free run."

Kate said she feels quite “emotional” looking at the garden, adding that, “we’ve had a brilliant time putting it all together. Clem’s been driven all the way.”

Clem also decided to include a bench and butterfly plaque to remember Anna Watson, a Priory Belvoir pupil who died, with Anna's mum also contributing £500 to the project.

The school land opposite the garden was also unused and would have proved an eyesore for those sat in the garden, so Clem converted the space into a wilderness area, complete with bird and bat boxes.

Clem sat in the wilderness area. (56807938)
Clem sat in the wilderness area. (56807938)

A water wall will soon be put in place in the middle of the garden, and a plaque will be placed to commemorate Clem's efforts.

Clem said that his next mission is to get bike canopies added at Priory Belvoir, to encourage more people to cycle into school by giving them a place to store their bikes.

Kate is still looking for someone to help with creating a disability-friendly path in the garden using resin or tarmac, asking anyone who could assist to email her on katebeardmore50@outlook.com

The wilderness area opposite the sensory garden. (56807932)
The wilderness area opposite the sensory garden. (56807932)


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