If you were near to Newbiggin by the Sea a couple of weeks ago, you might’ve been lucky enough to spot a field full of sheep running around, laughing and having fun in the sunshine.

No, your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you, it was the Baarmy Fun Run and the pupils at Grace Darling C of E Primary School were having a baa-riliant time.

As part of the Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne Learning Programme, the staff and pupils have been getting creative, ready for the art trail launch in July.

“Being part of the Shaun on the Tyne art trail is such a brilliant opportunity for the children at our school to be part of,” said John Macfarlane, Deputy Head Teacher at Grace Darling C of E Primary School in Newbiggin by the sea. “At our launch assembly, where our Shaun sculpture was revealed to the children, there was a lot of excitement and it’s kept on building from then.”

After the assembly, John took time to visit every classroom to talk to pupils some more about the art trail and why St Oswald’s Hospice is such a special place.

John shared, “I explained to the children that St Oswald’s is a place that helps to look after and care for people when they are sick. It’s a special place and we’re supporting what they do, to help other people.”

Attention then turned to their fundraiser activity, The Baarmy Fun Run!

This whole school event involved a big obstacle course set out on the school field with a time slot for every year group to take part. Encouraged to dress up as sheep for the day, the children raced around the course in their black and white outfits before arriving at the ‘sheep dip’ at the end of the course.

“The sheep dip was a definite highlight,” laughed John. “Teachers were waiting, dressed as sheep dogs, ready for the children to come by, pick up the water buckets and hose pipes, and soak us. Thankfully it was a sunny day, the sheep dogs were drenched! But it was lots of fun for everyone.”

In addition to the obstacle course, many staff members also dressed up as sheep including the kitchen staff, who not only donned sheep masked (pictured below), they’d cooked up some Shaun-themed sweet treats to enjoy on the day. There was even a ‘best dressed’ shout out in the school assembly.

Ahead of the Baarmy Fun Run, children were sent home with their Shaun Sponsorship forms to help the school achieve their fundraising goal of £400. “it’s not often we take on sponsored events, as we are aware of the financial climate and we don’t want to be putting added pressure on people at this time,” said John.

We’re delighted to announce that the pupils, families, friends and staff of Grace Darling C of E School have raised a whopping £3000 from their Baarmy Fun Run.

“We’re just blown away,” said John, “I am so proud of our children and our community for their generosity, support and enthusiasm in helping to raise such a fantastic amount for St Oswald’s Hospice. Thank you to everyone who has contributed.”

In preparation for painting their Shaun sculpture, the school hosted a design competition that all pupils could enter. The winning design has already been chosen and it incorporates elements that represent the school and the local area, especially the seaside.

“We’re thrilled with the enthusiasm from Grace Darling School and the amount they have raised is wonderful,” said Jo Williams, Learning Programme Coordinator at St Oswald’s Hospice. “The excitement shown by the pupils has been fabulous and we can’t wait to see their finished sculpture on the art trail.”

John added, “Our school motto is ‘Let everything you do be done in love’ and supporting St Oswald’s Hospice is a lovely way to reflect this.”

The Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne art trail launches on Wednesday 19th July 2023, where over 115 Shaun sculptures will be dotted around Newcastle upon Tyne for 10 weeks.

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