STAFF, parents and pupils at an Ellesmere Port school are not letting the pandemic stop them from getting into the festive spirit.

Woodlands Primary in Great Sutton is determined to bring some joy to its school community at the end of a difficult year – which is why it switched on the lights to a huge outdoor Christmas tree last night (November 23).

Festive lights and decorations have also been put up outside the school for children to enjoy during the impending winter nights.

The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) have been selling clear baubles for people to place a wish inside – which have been used to decorate the tree – as a way of raising funds for the school.

Fundraising activities have been hit hard this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Woodlands headteacher, Dr Victoria Carr, said the school community has been "exceptional" during the crisis with everyone pulling together to "try to keep morale up".

She told The Standard: "We have been determined this year that despite nobody being allowed to come into school, children would enjoy the festive cheer brought by lights on the cold and dark days.

"We have been so grateful to Onward Living, a building company responsible for a small housing estate around the corner, for donating the tree to us and also Backford Christmas Trees for supplying it.

Chester and District Standard:

"Hopefully, when our families and leadership team – working under Covid restrictions and staggering the starts and ends of the day, queueing for up to 30 minutes to allow ‘bubbles’ to enter and leave safely – see the lights in the mornings and after school they will be reminded that schools have been the light in the darkness for so many families this year already, and can provide a sense of joy and festive normality in such trying times.

"One thing is for sure, the pandemic has proven the undeniable importance of schools in the heart of their communities and the relentless and tireless way that teachers and other school staff support children and their families, no matter what.

"The PTA are some of our biggest advocates and as volunteers work hard to fundraise to find the money for school to enjoy some of the ‘extras’ that budgets just do not permit.

"This year has hit them – and by extension us – hard, but not to be thwarted they have sourced some clear baubles and have been selling them to our families for a pound so that they can place a wish inside and we can decorate our tree with both wishes and love.

"If anyone else from our community would like to buy a wish bauble from our PTA and have their wish upon our 'Wishing Tree', then please contact the PTA on their Twitter page @PtaWoodlands.

"The PTA have also masterminded an innovative way of capturing the things we all love most about a Christmas in school, nativity, carol singing, and so on, and the Pupil Parliament are also keen to extend this idea so that instead of our annual gathering at Astbury Lodge to sing to the elderly residents we may do something a little different that still includes them in our festivities.

"We cannot wait. We are determined that we will end this horrid year on a high, come what may, and that we keep projecting love and gratitude for what we do have into our communities – we have one another, even if we have to physically distance and isolate. This too shall pass.

"We have all worked hard and been supported by local businesses to be able to keep a smile on so many faces."