Elm Park primary school team raising half marathon money for equipment destroyed by vandals

A group of parents and teachers at Elm Park Primary school are running a half marathon this weekend to replace sports equipment that was destroyed by vandals last year.

Parent-teacher Association (PTA) head Nikki Warnes and her husband Richard, as well as the South End Road school’s headteacher Vicki Knox and deputy head Leslie Fuller, will be taking part in the Brentwood Half Marathon this Sunday to raise money to replace the lost items.

Before the school opened in September, equipment from the former Dunningford Primary School and Ayloff Primary Schools was being kept together in a shed at Dunningford’s Upper Rainham Road site.

In January 2011, vandals snuck on to the site and set fire to the shed, destroying what was inside.

Nikki said: “It was the PTA sheds, and it included hand-built things that had been built up over time, by dads and granddads.

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“There were things like basketball nets, football posts, gazebos and other things, they had real sentimental value as much as anything else.”

Having completed the Brighton Marathon last year, Nikki said she had the ‘bug’ for running and wanted to do more.

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She convinced her husband Richard to run the Brentwood race, and then the school’s head and deputy.

They have called their team ‘The Elmparkers’.

Half the money raised will go towards replacing the equipment, and half towards Sport Relief – which raises money for vulnerable people in the UK and abroad.

Pupils will decide where the money goes at the school.

Nikki said: “Anything we’re getting comes from ideas from the school council, they’re getting what they want.

“They’ve been coming up with lots of ideas, and they’ve said that when they get their replacement equipment they want to organise a basketball tournament with other schools.

“If we can raise �500 for both charities, that would be wonderful.”

The PTA has also carried out several other fundraising events for the new equipment, including a Mother’s Day tea and will be holding an Easter raffle soon.

To donate to the team contact the school office on 01708 451 463, or for their Sport Relief fund visit http://www.justgiving.com/theelmparkers-greatexpectations.

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