Roald Dahl’s creative imagination has inspired millions of children to read and in some cases to build.
More than 50 literature-loving pupils, who are aged seven and eight, appealed for help to build houses, shops, libraries and churches for characters from Dahl’s Minpins story, by writing letters to Leeds City Council and Land Securities.
The village was constructed by council parks officers in the garden at Middleton St Mary’s Primary School, in Moor Flatts Road, Middleton, and unveiled yesterday.
Complete with washing lines, fences, a play park and bins, it is hoped the permanent wooden village will inspire future generations of writers.
Teacher Clair Smith said: “They [the pupils] were really excited, they genuinely think the Minpins have all moved in so they tiptoed around the garden so not to disturb them – they are really excited about the whole thing.”
The garden, which will receive a Green Schools Sustainability Project Award in January, now houses more than 20 buildings, which were decorated and added to by the children last week.
Minpins tells the tale of a young boy’s bid to save the tiny Minpin people, who live inside trees, from the foes that prey on them.
Ms Smith said: “I think a lot of them have been enthused to read the books themselves and they are enthusiastic about reading of different people and characters.”
The Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun Ann Castle opened the village alongside Coun Paul Truswell (Lab, Middleton Park) and Gerald Jennings of Land Securities, which donated £150 to the project.
Coun Truswell, a governor at the school, added: “Education should be fun and this is just one of the many ways the dedicated and inventive staff at St Mary’s have devised to engage our pupils. The village is a great vehicle for learning and the children’s enthusiasm and involvement is wonderful to behold.”
* Writer Roald Dahl was born in Wales on September 13, 1916, to Norwegian parents.
* Dahl served with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War before he rose to prominence as an author.
* Dahl wrote some of the most notable children’s books of all time, including James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits and The BFG.
* The Minpins was one of Dahl’s last works and was published in 1991, a year after he died aged 74.