School pupils mark St Valentine’s Day by loving the environment

Students at St Francis Xavier School marked St Valentine’s Day by loving the environment.

On the big day, the school’s student eco team carried out its 100th litter pick.

To mark this milestone the team was joined by local councillors, Stuart Parsons, Kevin Foster and Leslie Rowe.

Other guests included Corrine Howie, head of HR from the St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust, Father Richard Marsden from St Joseph and St Francis Xavier Church, Mr and Mrs Nutting from Richmond plastic-free shop Out of the Box, and the team from GCH Grounds Maintenance of Richmond.

The eco team also welcomed Tim Madeley, from Cafod, and Catherine Mason, from the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, whose organisations were selected by the student eco team to support due to their commitment to the environment.

The team has already raised more than £400 thanks to donations from the school’s supportive parents and, together with their recent cake sale and eco-raffle, the eco team hope to increase this total even further.

The winner of the team’s eco-raffle will have a tree planted in their name within the school’s grounds as part of the school’s ongoing commitment to improve biodiversity.

Other guests who joined the event included Jos Huddlestone and Chris Kirby, from Richmond Rotary club, school governors Judith Barber and Mrs Fairhurst, and the student eco team from St Mary’s RC Primary School.

The students were also joined by headteacher Stuart McGhee, and Mrs Noone, a former assistant headteacher at SFX.

Members of the eco team accompanied their guests around the school grounds picking up litter and discussing their eco work, which involves energy saving measures, an ongoing food waste reduction campaign, presenting eco assemblies within the school and in the local community.

The team and their visitors collected 2,753 pieces of litter in 45 minutes, despite regularly carrying out litter picks within the school’s grounds.

It is thought that much of the litter found was blown into the grounds from the local area.

To continue with their work to raise awareness about littering, the student eco team is working with Dr Matt Sawyer, a local GP and environmentalist to develop an eco-app about littering.

This has also involved working with the local shop to promote awareness about the awful issue of littering and build further relationships within their local community.