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Air school trainees help revitalise facilities at local school

19 February 2016
Air Engineering Technicians (AETs) from the Defence College of Technical Training’s Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School (RNAESS), HMS Sultan, recently helped out at a special needs school in Fareham.

St Francis School hit the news headlines in November last year as it came under a series of attacks by vandals. With over £15,000 worth of damage caused, it became necessary for it to be closed temporarily.

Thanks to the generosity of the local community, through a series of fundraisers, the School have been able to repair damaged facilities. 

Several improvements to facilities have followed, with the School benefitting from a number of different donations ranging from a CCTV system, to a morale boosting visit for students to attend the Panto at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.

With the School returning to normality, the AETs from HMS Sultan spent several days on a number of different maintenance tasks aimed at further enhancing the pupil’s experience. 

Painting, cleaning and gardening were among the many activities, and additionally the trainees were able to build a new shed within the School’s gardens.

We are very grateful to the trainees from HMS Sultan for offering their support to the School, especially for their input towards revitalising our outdoor facilities.

Carol Marsh, St Francis School Business Manager

Among the team of trainees involved was AET Matthew Parker, 21, who, after completing his A Levels, spent a short period working in retail before joining the Royal Navy. He was really excited about supporting the School while completing his training. 

He said “Joining the military is something I always wanted to do. I am mechanically minded and have also been interested in aircraft from an early age, so this seemed to be an ideal job. 

"So far it’s been absolutely brilliant and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Every day seems to have offered something different, which helps prepare us for life on board and I am really enjoying the course. 

"I think I am even more eager to do well now, than when I passed out of HMS Raleigh.”

“One of the jobs that we undertook at the School involved using a pressure washer to get some of the moss removed from the playground. 

"Although this might not sound that interesting, we hope that it made the playground that bit safer and it’s rewarding to know that we have made the facility more accessible to the children.”

“It’s great to be able to help out where there is a real need. It was really sad to hear what the school has been through in recent times. It gives you a really warm feeling to know that you can help make a difference.”

Carol Marsh, School Business Manager said: 'We had suffered a small amount of vandalism and graffiti before and during half term.  

"After a report in the local newspapers, we had suffered extensive vandalism which included damaged roof tiles, smashed windows and skylights and  graffiti which made the fabric of the building unsafe and we had to close the school for the pupils for 8 days.'

“Since then the community have been fantastic and rallied round.  We have been overwhelmed with the response and in donations alone we have been given over £20,000. In addition we have received all sorts of gifts and support.”

“We are very grateful to the trainees from HMS Sultan for offering their support to the School, especially for their input towards revitalising our outdoor facilities. As we move further into spring the children will spend a lot more time outside and will really benefit from what has been achieved.”

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