School’s 150th birthday fundraiser

ARTEFACTS, photographs and memorabilia commemorating a school’s 150-year history are being sought for its birthday celebrations in July.

Backwell Junior School is hosting a plethora of special events to mark the occasion, as well as fundraising to help restore the historic structure, built in 1862.

Competitors have been busy training for a sponsored cycle ride, which will see participants pedalling various different routes, from a family-friendly half-a-mile around Backwell Common to a two-day 150-mile round trip to Lyme Regis.

They will then meet at The George pub at 4.45pm on July 1, before making the final trip from Church Lane to the school, to a heroes welcome by friends and family.

Activities will continue on the school field throughout the evening.

Training for the ride takes place on the first Sunday of each month, organised by villager Richard Phillips, who hopes people will form their own groups, according to ability.

The following week an exhibition including school records and memorabilia will go on display in the original school building.

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Governor Jerry King said: “The school is very keen to hear from former pupils, as there must be many still in Backwell, who would be prepared to lend photographs and other material for the week.”

In the past few years two new classrooms have been built and others have been refurbished at the Church Lane site.

Plans are now in place for a second phase, redeveloping the original building into small group learning spaces, office and welfare facilities.

The new classroom block will be officially opened on July 5, by the Bishop of Taunton, Rt Revd Peter Maurice, following a birthday service attended by present and past pupils and staff.

An open morning for former pupils and friends to look around the school and view the exhibition will be held on July 7.

And the grand finale of the week’s celebrations will be the annual village community festival on the school field, with several bands, magicians and circus skills on offer.

Headteacher Alex Bell said: “We’re really looking forward to the celebrations.

“What we need now is for all the village to support us, whether by taking part or sponsoring cyclists in the cycle ride, or looking out all those items of old school memorabilia that will be so fascinating for others to see in the exhibition, and last but by no means least to support the Backwell Community Festival.

“All funds raised will go towards the refurbishment of the original school building. “This is a timely and much needed development and I hope you’ll all join us for the celebrations which lie ahead.”

Anyone who can lend material for the exhibition can contact the school secretary on 01275 462632 or email