Rugby star opens new facility at Barnstaple school

Joseph Bulmer

England and British Lions player Mike Catt OBE opens new Wooden Lodge at Pathfield School in Barnstaple.

ENGLAND and British Lions rugby star Mike Catt OBE was the guest of honour at the official opening of a fantastic new facility Pathfield School in Barnstaple made possible by the Wooden Spoon charity.

Wooden Spoon Devon gave �70,000 towards the building of the Wooden Lodge, designed for teaching communication and interaction skills to young people with severe and complex communication and interaction disabilities.

It will have a training room, a meeting room, a kitchen, day room and bathroom facilities.

Mike, a former Bath, London Irish, British Lion and England Rugby World Cup winner, was pleased to carry out the opening on behalf of the school and rugby inspired children’s charity. Also present were fund raisers from the TNT Exeter Depot, to see for themselves how the money they raised had been used.

Bruce Priday, chairman of Devon Wooden Spoon Region, said local member Paul Jewels initiated the link to the project and was the driving force behind the local fund raising.

“I just feel incredibly proud to be a cog in the wheel,” said a modest Mr Jewel, “but it’s a team effort and would not have been possible without the people supporting it.”

Mr Priday said Mike Catt had been “brilliant,” taking the time to tour the school and meet its youngsters.

Headteacher Claire May said not only had the Wooden Spoon provided the Lodge, but in doing so it has made it possible for the school to gain specialist status in Communication and Interaction.

“Without their generosity this status would not have been achieved,” she said.

“Without this fabulous facility we would not be able to raise the awareness of the importance of communication in the lives of young people with severe and complex learning difficulties.”