Shoppers’ divis are a godsend for St Gabriel’s Primary School

Shoppers have given away their dividends, worth £777, to help enrich the education and spiritual life of children at a Catholic school in Tamworth.

The money will pay for new benches in a prayer garden at St Gabriel’s Primary, signs explaining the school’s mission, and trips to places of interest.

Pictured at cheque presentation in prayer garden are Sam Herne, Daniel Perks, Francesca Pursglove, Aoife Hitchings, Julie Gasper, Tamworth Co-op business support manager, Maddie Booth and Evie McGowan, with Friends of St Gabriel’s members Louise Vernon, Steve Pursglove (treasurer) Mairead Hitchings, John Hayes, head teacher of St Gabriel’s Primary School, and Rob Vernon (chairperson).

Pictured at the cheque presentation in the prayer garden are (l-r, front row): Sam Herne, Daniel Perks, Francesca Pursglove, Aoife Hitchings, Julie Gasper, Tamworth Co-op business support manager, Maddie Booth and Evie McGowan, with back row: Friends of St Gabriel’s members Louise Vernon, Steve Pursglove (treasurer) Mairead Hitchings, John Hayes, head teacher of St Gabriel’s Primary School, and Rob Vernon (chairperson).

Customers at the Tamworth Co-op’s Glascote store nominated the Belgrave school to benefit from the Society’s Community Dividend Fund.

The cash was handed over to the Friends of St Gabriel’s, a group of parents who help raise funds for school initiatives including the prayer garden.

The plot has become a focal point for lessons and worship, featuring areas for reflection designed around the themes of joy, peace, love and hope. Part of it is dedicated to memorial stones for lost loved ones. There is also a tree planted in memory of soldier Leon Spicer, a former pupil at the school, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2005.

Tamworth Co-op business support manager Julie Gasper, who presented the cheque, said the Community Dividend Fund is making a real difference to people’s lives in the areas the Society trades in.

“This year we will again be distributing a five-figure sum to schools, churches and other community groups which, in many cases, depend on voluntary contributions to keep going. It’s very rewarding to see how some of this money will help children at St Gabriel’s broaden their education and religious life.”

Head teacher John Hayes said: “In the current climate, where school budgets are getting squeezed more and more, it’s a great help to get this kind of support and we’re very grateful for it. It will pay for activities which we might not be able to afford otherwise.”