Bent pupils say goodbye to their hippo in wellingtons

Bent Primary pupils and Bentley, ready for the Big Stampede.
Bent Primary pupils and Bentley, ready for the Big Stampede.

Pupils at Bent Primary School in Lesmahagow have waved goodbye to Bentley, their special little hippo.

Bent is one of 80 schools and nurseries across Lanarkshire taking part in The BIG Stampede’s educational initiative, which involves designing a baby hippo to go on display as part of the sculpture art trail taking place in Hamilton this summer.

Bentley (Picture by Sarah Peters)

Bentley (Picture by Sarah Peters)

Before bidding farewell to their resident hippo, aptly named Bentley, the entire school celebrated the occasion with a number of safari-themed activities throughout the day.

First the pupils were quizzed on a range of hippo facts before they transformed into their favourite wild animals, making masks and enjoying a safari animal obstacle course. Next the hungry explorers took part in animal biscuit making after having worked up an appetite on the safari adventure.

The invasion of Bentley the hippo captured the pupils’ imaginations, in particular Adam Naismith (P3), Ellie Barr (P6), Andrew Johnston (P7) and Zoe Schoneville (P7), whose designs were selected to make up the Bentley blueprints. The design was inspired by the school’s rural environment and features a selection of farm animals, as well as more exotic animal printed wellie boots to blend in with the trail.

Carol Fleming, Head Teacher of Bent Primary School, said: “We’re a small rural school situated in Lesmahagow and the finished design represents the wonderful view we have from the classrooms, as well as incorporating the Wild in Art theme with the wild wellingtons!

With Bentley are (left to right) Adam Naismith 7, Zoe Schoneville 11, Mrs Carol Fleming, Andrew Johnston 11 and Ellie Barr 10.

With Bentley are (left to right) Adam Naismith 7, Zoe Schoneville 11, Mrs Carol Fleming, Andrew Johnston 11 and Ellie Barr 10.

"The mouse, bee, sheep and cows represent the ‘wildlife’ that we see around us in the fields and every pupil used their fingerprints to add a spot to the cow or to create the sheep’s face.

“The project has encouraged the children to be creative, imaginative and inspired. The cross-curricular lessons are engaging and fun and the children have enjoyed finding out some interesting facts about hippos.

"The fundraising event has developed the children's compassion and respect for others. This was evident in the fantastic amount of money that we raised which amounts to more than £1450. I always tell the children ' We may be small but we can make a big difference!”

As well as a hippo sculpture, participating schools received a selection of education resources spanning a number of areas of the curriculum, from numeracy, literacy and art to conservation and the environment, to engage pupils in the learning experience in a fun and practical way.

Animal masks as pupils prepare for stampede  (Pic by Sarah Peters)

Animal masks as pupils prepare for stampede (Pic by Sarah Peters)

The schools were able to participate in the campaign thanks to the help of The BIG Stampede Safari Community and Education sponsors, world famous confectionery brand, Tunnock’s and The Regent Shopping Centre in Hamilton.

The creative initiative is part of the large scale sculpture art trail organised by Hamilton Business Improvement District (BID), in partnership with Wild in Art, that will see a herd of elephants, giraffes, lions, gorillas and rhinos stampede into Hamilton this summer to raise funds for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

The children will be able to see the animals in their new home from Friday June 23 when the trail officially launches, running until the end of August. After the trail, the large safari sculptures will go to auction for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, while the miniature hippos will be returned to set-up home in the schools as souvenirs of the adventure.

Gareth Walker, BID Manager at Hamilton BID, added: “We are overwhelmed by the creativity of Bent Primary School pupils. The education initiative was designed to let childrens’ imaginations run wild while creating valuable memories for everyone involved.

"Bent Primary gave Bentley the hippo a royal send off at their farewell event and we look forward to seeing the pupils this summer as they visit their wild friend on the trail.”