Submariners dig deep to transform school garden
Submariners ditched their high-tech machinery in exchange for a trowel and shovel to help transform a school garden in Devon.
The environmental area at Bere Alston Primary School's has been turned into a usable and wildlife-friendly space that the whole school can enjoy.
Nigel Shirlow, husband of school secretary Marianne, headed up the team of submariner combat systems engineers from HM Naval Base Devonport, Plymouth.
He said: "We have quiet spells between trips so I asked if we could adopt the school garden as our team project – the first time we have volunteered as a group – and my superiors were happy to agree." The environmental garden was created in 1997 but as pupil numbers and the garden both grew, it became less and less usable. Work was initially begun on the garden by other volunteers – but it suffered a setback when vandals threw a picnic table into the pond, puncturing the liner so the water drained away.
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That is when the submariners came to the rescue, standing in deep water, clearing out huge piles of muck, filth and grass before re-lining.
And rather than clearing the area completely and leaving frogs and toads homeless, the old liner was pulled back and trimmed so one part of the pond became a marshy area – deliberately producing a combination of habitats.
"This sort of work has been a real first for some of the guys as they work on sonar, radio and intricate electrical equipment," Nigel added.
"It's been really good to get to grips with some more physically challenging work."