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Belhaven Hill School Supports East Lothian in ‘The Big Help Out’


Belhaven Hill School children at Dunbar Harbour

On Monday 8th May, every child at Belhaven Hill School in Dunbar in East Lothian set out from the school to take part in an activity to contribute to the local community, as part of the national ‘Big Help Out’ initiative for King Charles III’s Coronation. This opportunity was fully embraced by the boarding and day school pupils to give something back and practise their teamwork.


The eldest children, aged 12, took part in three different activities. Some walked a 12km route from Thorntonloch back to the school; some ran the same route and others baked enough cakes for the residents’ morning break at the Lammermuir Care Home, where many of the pupils had formerly sung Christmas carols. All the children gave their best and smiled throughout the damp morning.


Meanwhile, the 11-year-olds headed off to nearby Belhaven Bay in search of a site to sift for micro-plastics. Surveying the beach and then comparing it with another local area would help them test a hypothesis as part of their Geography fieldwork. It also allowed them to analyse the extent of local pollution om the beach that is so important for the school and needs to be protected.


Belhaven Bay Beach litter pickers

Belhaven’s Headmaster, Olly Langton, says: “It was a very real privilege to be able to watch all of these groups doing their bit. Their enthusiasm lit up a gloomy morning, as did the hard work of the staff who helped them – I hope that the children will feel the satisfaction of a job well done as they look back on their contribution to The Big Help Out.”


The younger children were also busy with their contributions to the ‘Big Help Out’. The Harbour Trust had asked the school to provide another mural for the harbour wall; this year’s theme is the local fishing industry, a key part of Dunbar’s heritage which is now under threat. On this damp Monday morning, 10-year-olds bravely took their sketchbooks down to the harbour and photographed the details of the fishing boats. They then set to work back in the warm sanctuary of Belhaven’s Art block!


The next younger year group spent their time in the school kitchens making meatball pasta bake and industrial quantities of tiffin. These were turned into frozen meals and traybakes for the fundraising ‘Relay for Life’ in Dunbar on 24th June. The boys and girls then decorated ‘Candle of Hope’ bags that will line the track and bear a candle to light the way for the ‘Relay for Life’.


Baking cakes for residents at the Lammermuir Care Home

In the meantime, the 8-year-olds went off tree-mapping and identified a site for an oak sapling which is being donated to the school by the Dunbar Rotary Club to say thank you for the Pipe Band’s performance in Lauderdale Park the previous day. They then headed off to North Berwick, where they borrowed the beach-cleaning kit from the Seabird Centre to conduct a thorough clean of the town’s East beach.


Mr Langton concludes: “The youngest children in the Pre-Prep (aged 5 to 7) headed down to Belhaven Bay to collect rubbish and any interesting items. They were helped out by Nelson, one of the school’s dogs. They soon returned with bags full and a well done clean-up job.”

The school was very grateful for the positive feedback received from the local community:

“If your students would like to come and perform music for us or even just chat we would be delighted to see you on a more regular basis.” (Alexandra Davies, Magic Moments Activities Co-ordinator at Lammermuir House Care Home).


“I would like to congratulate your pupils at yesterday's event in Lauderdale Park. In particular, the pipe band members, were excellent.” (Stuart McCombie, Dunbar Community Pétanque)

“I just wanted to say a quick thank you for your pupils' participation in the [Dunbar Rotary] picnic... they were amazing and so appreciated by all that were there.” (Rena Keller, Dunbar Rotary)


You can see more about Belhaven Hill School here.

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