Belhaven's 'Big Help Out'
On Monday 8th May, every child at Belhaven set out from the school to take part in an activity to benefit the local community. As part of ‘The Big Help Out’ initiative, this was our opportunity to give something back and to experience teamwork of a different variety.
Form 1 had three options. One was to walk from Thorntonloch back to Belhaven – the second, to run the same 12km route. The third option was to bake enough cake to provide a morning break to the residents of the Lammermuir Care Home, where many of the Form 1s had sung carols just before Christmas. With six opting for baking, thirteen for walking and eleven for the run, we set them on their way with trainers, stopwatches and whisks at the ready.
Meanwhile, Form 2 were heading off to Belhaven Bay in search of a site to sift for micro-plastics. Surveying the beach and then comparing it with another local area would help them to test a hypothesis as part of their Geography fieldwork. It also allows them to engage with the extent of pollution in a part of our local environment that is so important to the character of the school and that we must do our bit to protect.
Form 3 had spent the previous Friday afternoon learning about Dunbar Harbour from the harbourmaster, Fiona, and about the prawn and lobster fishing trade from Callum, who owns a boat and 270 creel down at the harbour. The Harbour Trust have asked us to provide another mural for the wall, and the focal point this year is the local fishing industry, a key part of Dunbar’s heritage and another part of local life under significant threat. On this damp Monday morning, Form 3 bravely took their sketchbooks down to the harbour and also took photos of the details of the fishing boats. They then set to work back in the warm sanctuary of the Art block!
Form 4 had the best of the weather by staying indoors for the morning. While one group of eight went downstairs to the kitchens to learn how to make meatball pasta bake, another group went upstairs to the senior boys’ kitchen to make industrial quantities of tiffin. The groups then swapped over and repeated the exercise – we now have plenty of frozen meals and traybakes for the Relay for Life Dunbar organisers to use at their fundraising event on 24th June. After break, all 16 returned to their classroom to decorate ‘Candle of Hope’ bags that will line the track and bear a candle to light the way for those taking part in the ‘Relay for Life’ – you can sign up and enter as an individual or as a team, if you would like!
Form 5 set off with Mrs. Parks, Mrs. Millman and Mr. Marriott to Eagle Wood, where they had an important job to do. When the trees were planted in November, many of them were marked with initials but we didn’t keep a record of whose tree was where, and so a tree-mapping party was required! They were also tasked with finding a spot for an oak sapling, donated to the school by the Dunbar Rotary Club as a thank you for the Pipe Band’s performance in Lauderdale Park the day before. After carrying out this important mission, Form 5 journeyed on to North Berwick, where they borrowed the beach-cleaning kit from the Seabird Centre and conducted a thorough clean of the East beach.
The Pre-Prep, meanwhile, were also hard at work down at Belhaven Bay, picking up all manner of rubbish and interesting things. Nelson joined in and set a very bad example but luckily the Pre-Prep remained resolute and stuck to their task despite the persistent rain. They returned with bags full and with a job well done.
Just as they turned in through the back gate, the first Form 1 runners made it back to the Bay and promptly went for a swim. All eleven runners completed the route in under an hour and 45 minutes, an impressive feat whatever the weather. The walkers made their way back at a more leisurely pace but got no less wet, while the bakers found themselves the centre of attention at the care home, with Louise entertaining the crowd with her Grade 8 piano pieces.
It was a very real privilege to be able to watch all of these groups doing their bit. Their enthusiasm lit up a gloomy morning, as did that of the staff who helped them – I hope that the children will feel the satisfaction of a job well done as they look back on their contribution to The Big Help Out.