FOR THE past 18 months building work at a Leeds primary school has meant pupils have had nowhere to play during break times.
But today they returned from the Easter holidays to the surprise of a new playground with climbing walls, floor games and murals for them to enjoy.
The parent teacher association at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, in Pudsey, have been fundraising to provide a new playground with the help of staff and pupils.
A winter ball, a Christmas gift shop and other events helped to raise thousands of pounds for the cause.
And over the Easter holidays they have worked with local businesses to get the playground ready as a surprise.
Shane Hamill, the Friends of St Joseph’s chairman, said: “For the past 18 months the school has not had a playground because an extension has been built and the children have not really had anywhere to play outdoors.
“Today they came back to find a new playground ready for them. When people arrived in the morning the excitement and energy was fantastic.
“They were climbing the gates waiting this morning because they could see it there for them.
“It was like Christmas – except at Christmas you are expecting something but this was a complete surprise.”
The new playground features climbing walls, a play area and nine floor games.
Today also marked Caroline Doherty’s first day as the school’s head.
Mr Hamill said: “The new head has been an inspiration for us and she came in and helped over Easter as well.
“She said it was a perfect way for her to start her first day.”
He also paid tribute to the school’s caretaker Simon Cavanagh for his work on it during the holidays and the local businesses for offering help getting the playground ready at “massively reduced rates”.