Schoolchildren won’t be beaten by vandals who trashed their artwork

Coun. Ellen Ball  with smashed artwork, which was made by local schoolchildren, on the footbridge over Stockton Road, Ryhope.
Coun. Ellen Ball with smashed artwork, which was made by local schoolchildren, on the footbridge over Stockton Road, Ryhope.
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A SCHOOL whose pupils were shattered when callous vandals destroyed their new glass artwork will get help from the council to replace it.

Teachers and youngsters at St Paul’s Church of England Primary School in Ryhope have vowed not to let the criminals ruin their work.

Dan Sullivan, a teacher at the Sunderland School, said that his Year 6 pupils will have to make time in their busy curriculum to repair their public display on the footbridge over Stockton Road, which took weeks to complete first time around.

He said: “Work is already underway. The council has agreed to fund more artwork to replace what’s been damaged.

“We’ve got a very tight schedule with the curriculum, but we will find the time over the next few weeks.”

Mr Sullivan said the money to repair the art could come from the £2,000 funding pot that was originally allocated for the project but was not used in full.

A spokesman for Sunderland City Council confirmed it would help with the costs associated with replacing the damaged pieces.

The art project, entitled ‘Love where you live’ depicts how people looked and used to dress from the 18th century until the modern day. The idea to install them on the bridge to brighten up the walkway came from pupil Sophie.

“I had the thought about decorating the bridge,” the 10-year-old said. “It’s normally really scruffy and covered in graffiti, so I had the idea of repainting it or decorating it.

“I really like it now the artwork is up but it’s not good that some of it was vandalised. It’s not nice that someone would do that.”

Ten-year-old Andrew said: “The character in my piece has a Mohican and he’s from the 1960s. It was really fun to make and we got to use special glass paint.”

Emily, also 10, added: “I chose the 1930s because I thought the clothes were quite cool then and I could do some different designs with them. It feels amazing that they are up on the bridge and everyone can see them when they’re driving or walking past.”

Mr Sullivan said the school invited an artist to help the children with ideas, which they then developed themselves. Once finished, Balfour Beatty agreed to install the pieces free of charge.

“Unfortunately some damage was done to some of them,” Mr Sullivan added. “It’s not nice that that happened, but it’s good they can look past it. I want the children to celebrate their work and hopefully the local people can celebrate with them.

Anyone with information about the damage can call police on 101 ext 69191.