A gift of new goals has put a spring in the step of soccer stars at St Paul’s Community Primary School in Spalding and enabled them to join a league.
Pupils at the Queens Road school were heartbroken in April when vandals smashed their old goals to pieces.
But a local business – Salters Landscaping and Property Maintenance – has come to the rescue.
The firm has provided two new goals, costing £350, and paved the way for youngsters to play competitive football for the first time in years.
The school’s PE specialist, Andy Dowling, said: “It was just a very kind donation that came out of the blue.
“It has been a godsend for us.
“It has allowed us to enter a football league with nine other schools in the Spalding area, which we have not done for a number of years.
“The pupils are starting to feel a sense of pride in representing the school which they have not done since the goals had been vandalised.”
So far, 22 boys and girls from St Paul’s have got involved in school football.
Pupils are showing a great team spirit as well as a sense of pride when they don their distinctive red and white strip.
The St Paul’s team has played two games so far in the mixed, seven-a-side league.
Up to now they are without a win but that hasn’t stopped the pupils from enjoying their football.
Andy said: “They are obviously slightly nervous before each match because they have the sense of competition with playing against other schools but children do thrive on competition.
“It’s the smiles as they come off after the matches that says it all for me.”
The goals were smashed as part of spate of vandalism that lasted several weeks between February and April.
The school put out a plea to be left in peace and, last year, had to make a similar plea when thieves were stealing milk intended for the children.
St Paul’s now hopes the gift of new goals will serve the wider community.
Andy said: “It will help us to provide a safe community resource that can be used by local residents, which hopefully will have a positive impact on anti-social behaviour.
“What we are looking at doing is improving our community links and other schools now are looking to start using our facilities because we are so blessed with the grounds that we have here.”
He said future outdoor activities at the school could include holiday camps.
In April, after the goals were smashed, head teacher Kira Nicholls revealed the school had suffered weekly visits from trespassers since February 23.
Ms Nicholls made a plea for the school to be left in peace so it could progress its plans to benefit pupils with projects like a new polytunnel that would allow them to grow their own vegetables.
She said then: “We feel as though we are putting things on hold until something can be done about the trespassers. I am really sorry that our pupils have to miss out on so much due to the mindless actions of a small minority.”
Luke Salter, from Salters Landscaping and Property Maintenance, is a big believer in children’s football.
He is an assistant manager with the under 11s blues at Spalding United, and his children play in local teams.
Luke’s mum-in-law, Jackie Budworth, is a teaching assistant at St Paul’s and Luke felt he had to step in when he heard about the school’s goals being smashed to pieces.
“We were in a position where we could help,” said Luke. “Football has been a part of all our family’s lives and I am a big advocate of kids playing football and keeping fit.”
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