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A day to remember

On Monday the 11th of September we joined the amazing Dowling family in celebrating the life of their beloved Warren. The grand opening of Warren's Little Creepers was an event not to be missed and the the whole community turned out to celebrate Wozza's birthday.

Wozza's Little Creepers

It was an afternoon of tears and laughter as the community came together to remember Warren. With the fantastic Bart's Disco and Binngs Bouncy Castles providing the entertainment, and Snack'n'Wrap and Mario's Ice Cream providing the food there was lots of fun to be had but the huge hole in the community left by Warren did not go unmissed. One thing that everyone can agree on is that Warren, affectionately known as Wozza to his family and friends, would have been incredibly proud of what his family have achieved in his honour.

In the six months since Warren devastatingly passed away, the Dowling family have shown strength and determination of the likes of which we have never seen. The love shared between Belinda, Ian and the children is out of this world and this has helped them to achieve impossible things.

No-one could have ever dreamt the once unloved and forgotten pond area at Stamshaw Junior School could be restored to its former glory. At one time there was even talk of filling it in as it just seemed an impossible task. In the year before Warren passed away he and his Dad, Ian, had taken on the unenviable task of trying to tackle the overgrown and derelict garden with a vision of transforming it into a space that could once again be loved. Heartbreakingly, Warren never got to see this dream fulfilled as the wilderness overtook the area every time it seemed as though any progress has been made, but this did not deter his amazing family from the mammoth task of regenerating the area in order to remember him in the only way that seemed fitting.

Through blood, sweat and a few laughs along the way Belinda, Ian and the kids waded through the sludge, the bugs, the weeds, and whatever else was lurking in the undergrowth to strip the whole area back to its bare bones. The put in hundreds of hours of labour to restore the pond and create an area that will be accessible to the children at the school for years to come. The true meaning of a labour of love!

The pond, now named Warren's Little Creepers, is unrecognisable and has already been getting use as classes begin to come outside to the outdoor learning area, all under the watchful eye of Wozza as he looks on from the mural created by his amazingly talented Dad, Ian.

An amazing family -The Dowlings

PATCH would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the Dowling family for the truly wonderful and selfless thing they have done for the school in memory of their beloved son.

We would also like to thank all those who came together to help make it possible from buying cakes at our cake sale all the way back in March, to the staff who gave up their time to help, and all the people and companies who have donated materials, equipment, planting, fish and more. A special mention goes out to Chris at Buildbase who went above and beyond to help, as well as B&Q Portsmouth who were also generous with donations.

Don't forget you still have time to vote for Warren's pond project at Tesco with their blue tokens. There are still finishing touches to be done including vital filter equipment to keep the pond healthy, the last of the planting, a shed and pond dipping equipment to purchase, not to mention the ongoing upkeep costs, so any money we can win from the stronger starts grant would be invaluable. You can pop your blue tokens in at Tesco North Harbour, Tesco Cosham and Tesco Northend.

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