Pupils at Ingfield Manor School used the power of song to thank local groups that have donated towards the cost of a new outdoor toilet facility.
The woodland toilet, part of the Five Oaks school’s interactive outdoor Woodland Project, was opened on Friday September 26.
It will mean children at the school, which caters for pupils aged from three to 19 with cerebral palsy, will not have to rush back to the school building when nature calls.
Pupils performed a short song to the tune of ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’, mentioning what can be done ‘if you go down to the woods today’, to thank those responsible for the toilet’s funding.
The Woodland Project, masterminded by school woodsman David Spreadbury-Troy, was opened last summer, and acting principal Hazel Darby welcomed the addition of the toilet.
She said: “I think it is fantastic that the students got together in their music lessons and creating the song just made it really.
“This is about thanking our local community and beyond in helping to create this amazing woodland environment.
“They don’t have to go back into the school building, so in terms of expanding the time that they are in the woods and learning it is fantastic.
“David’s hard work, enthusiasm and sense of humour has just made it happen. He is an amazing person to have on the Ingfield team.”
David added that his next task within the Woodland Project is development of a pond within the woods.
He said: “It is very rewarding when we see the children out here. They come down expecting a lesson and they get so much more because of the environment.
“Seeing them interact with children from other schools is a magical time - it helps to break down the barriers between able-bodied and disabled children.
“We are actively seeking donors to help us with decking to finish our woodland pond.”
The toilet was officially opened by pupils and staff cutting a branch decorated with toilet roll, before the children burst into song.
They thanked volunteers who have helped with the Woodland Project, including Judy Agate and St Mary’s School in Pulborough, Southern Water, BT and More Than.
Funding for the toilet was achieved through a £1,000 grant secured last year from the Hall and Woodhouse Community Chest, supported by the West Sussex County Times group, Spirit FM and the Sussex Community Foundation.
Each year the Community Chest gives more than £15,000 to good causes across the area.
County Times editor in chief Gary Shipton said the newspaper group was delighted to support this ‘excellent project’.
He said: “Every year we support the Hall and Woodhouse Community Chest to give away thousands of pounds to great causes like this. I congratulate everyone involved.”
Mark Woodhouse, chairman of Hall and Woodhouse, said: “Having the ability to get students out into the great outdoors has got to be good, and practicalities have to be considered!”
Don Newport, chairman of Friends of Ingfield, added: “There has been a huge number of people who have come along and supported it, some from a financial point of view and also all these volunteers that have given their time.”