Echline Primary School - Ross’s Garden Re-Opened

Fri, Sep 22nd 2023 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Ross Woolard's Memorial Garden Re-Opened after refurbishment work carried out by Rotary South Queensferry and Greenferry

Back in May 2023 Jude Moir the Head teacher of Echline Primary School reached out the Neil McKinlay current President of the Rotary Club of South Queensferry as he knew Neil had a wide network of community contacts.  His request was to identify people or local groups Neil might know who might be willing to assist the school to refurbish their school gardens which over the years had sadly become an overgrown, neglected and unused area of ground that forms a central and integral part of the schools grounds. The school had been quoted about £2k by a contactor to undertake a basic tidy up and Jude explained that the Echline Parents Group had some reserves but not sufficient to cover this cost and also purchase new outdoor furniture and other equipment.  Jude also explained that the gardens were dedicated in memory of a former pupil, Ross Woolard who sadly passed away while being a pupil at the school.

Neil said he thought that despite the significant extent of the work required the Rotary Environmental team assisted by his Greenferry team colleagues could rise to the challenge and take on the entire project of refurbishing the gardens to bring them back to a condition that would be a real asset to the school for outdoor learning and general relaxation.

So starting in mid-May 2023 teams of volunteers from these groups were mobilised and supported by a number of parents, grandparents, teachers, family friends and some pupils and the gardens and raised beds were cleared of weeds and overgrown vegetation and general rubbish.   Work progressed steadily and with the help of Fiona Chandler Chair of the Greenferry environmental team the borders were replanted and the raised beds filled with new fruit bushes and vegetables. During the June school Fun Day the pupils had a great time helping with these planting tasks.

During the school summer holidays the Rotary team then focused on a complete refurbishment of all the hard standing areas which was a considerable challenge in itself. This including the complete refurbishment of the staging area which has almost fallen to bits. The project was “bookended” towards the end of August with the repainting of all the garden railings and fences. The overall cost for materials was less than half the quotation given by the contactors as apart from a generous supply of coffee and biscuits labour was free! It is estimated that a professional firm would have charged in the region of £6/7 k for the works to be completed and not to as good and thorough a standard as has been achieved.  

The whole project was concluded by a lovely opening event held within the gardens on the 22nd September attended by parents and family, teachers, pupils, volunteers. It was particularly pleasing to have two additional special guests, Win and Derek Woolard the parents of Ross, the young boy who was a pupil at the school who sadly passed away in 1998 and in whose memory the gardens are dedicated. Both Jude Moir the Head Teacher and Club President Neil McKinlay in their presentations to the guests mentioned the great satisfaction that the project had given to all the participants and highlighted again the power of a community coming together with a real sense of purpose to achieve a significant objective. Win and Derek then unveiled a small plaque in recognition of all the work expended by the Rotary and the Greenferry teams in the transformation of the gardens.