Pupils design tree house at Yelland

A YELLAND grandmother who has always dreamed of building her own tree house has called upon young architects from a local primary school to help her design the perfect arboreal hideaway. Joanne Bell, 65, has watched the Aspen Poplar tree at the bottom o

A YELLAND grandmother who has always dreamed of building her own tree house has called upon young "architects" from a local primary school to help her design the perfect arboreal hideaway.

Joanne Bell, 65, has watched the Aspen Poplar tree at the bottom of her garden grow to nearly 60 feet during the last 30 years - and has decided the time is now right to fulfil her childhood ambition.

Mrs Bell approached Instow Primary School head teacher Peter Kent to ask if youngsters at the school could help - and the school's science club jumped at the chance to sketch out their ideas.

"I'm an outdoor person and it's always been my dream to have a tree house since I was a small girl," said Mrs Bell.


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"The tree now has five large trunks coming out of it and is crying out for a tree house.

"Who better to design one than children? They know just the sort of things I should be including in the design.

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"The school very kindly took it on as a class project. They visited my garden with their teacher and all submitted designs that I looked at with the help of my own grandchildren.

"The children came up with some great ideas and were so enthusiastic. In the end, it was impossible to choose one winner, so we selected five of the best."

And while suggestions for a Jacuzzi, sweet room, TV room, zip wire, tunnel from the house, and fireman's pole might prove a little ambitious, Joanne and husband Jim will be taking the best features from each blueprint to inspire the final design.

The couple have already been collecting pieces of driftwood from the beach to help with the construction, and will get to work building the tree house during the summer.

"It's not just our tree house," said Joanne. "My grandchildren will love it and children from the school will always be welcome to use it if they telephone to let us know they are coming.

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