Volunteers spend Saturday clearing snow from Sunderland school site ready for Monday reopening

Dozens of volunteers gave up their up their day off to ensure a Sunderland school site is clear of snow and ready to reopen on Monday.

Staff, pupils, governors and members of the public turned out in force on Saturday, after Thornhill Academy head teacher Ian Redford put a plea on the school's Facebook page asking for help.

Volunteers help clear snow at Thornhill Academy. Credit: Ian Redford.

Volunteers help clear snow at Thornhill Academy. Credit: Ian Redford.

School caretaker Barry Young had been working hard to try and clear the snow, but the complexity and size of the site, along with the sheer amount snow had proven too much for one person.

Mr Redford said: "We've been closed, like many other schools, for three days, and we are determined we we will open on Monday. We understand the pressure on parents.

"Our caretaker has been working tirelessly for the past couple of days, but because the school is so big and such a complex site, with many different levels and steps, he was struggling to do it all himself.

"I put a general request out on Facebook, on the school's official page, to see if any parents and pupils would be willing to help make the site safe.

Volunteers help clear snow at Thornhill Academy. Credit: Ian Redford.

Volunteers help clear snow at Thornhill Academy. Credit: Ian Redford.

"I had asked them to meet at 11.30am and the response has been overwhelming.

"More than 50 people, including staff, pupils from every year group, governors, exam invigilators, support staff and the general community.

"We also managed to clear the service road, not only to keep pupils safe, but also so we can get our deliveries and kitchen supplies or there would be no food.

"I asked them to go the extra mile and had 50 people working their way along the service road and we cleared a bit of the car parks too.

"I am determined we will open on Monday, unless the beast returns. You can never be 100% sure."