Celebrations at Dudley special school as new minibus unveiled
Celebrations were in order when a shiny new minibus for youngsters with learning difficulties rolled into a school's grounds.
Almost £14,600 was raised so Dudley's Woodsetton School could purchase the specially-adapted vehicle for its children.
Staff launched their fundraising appeal after the school's old minibus, bought second-hand 15 years ago, started breaking down on trips.
Assistant head teacher Cath Harding, who spearheaded the campaign, said: "We thought it was going to take years and years, and because we aren't a very big school, to raise the money was just our dream.
"We need the minibus so our children can get outside the classroom and use the facilities in the local community to enhance their learning experience.
"We try and do as many educational visits as we can."
Cash began rolling in from across the community after Mrs Harding organised the first staff raffle two-and-a-half years ago.
Since then, a number of fundraisers have been held before money gathered was combined with allocated school funds.
Mrs Harding said she was "moved" by the support of businesses, community groups and families across the area, who pledged their support to the cause.
Supporters joined together for the arrival of the new minibus on Tuesday, tucking into a celebratory lunch and enjoying drinks in the playground.
Mrs Harding said: "It was a real big celebration, it was absolutely wonderful.
"All the children made their own flags in the classroom and we gave them a great big helium balloon each.
"We all cheered when the minibus arrived and then we went down to our school forest and had and ice cream."
The minibus will now be used to take all of the 106 pupils at the Tipton Road school, who are aged between four and 11, to at least two trips every term.
It will also help families who struggle to take their youngsters with learning difficulties out into the community, the teacher said.
She added: "It's just unbelievable, we didn't expect this at all.
"The minibus is vital to our children's learning and their experience in the world, and complementing what we are doing in the classroom."