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Macduff pupils raise more than £1,200 to help koalas and Australian wildlife injured in fires

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The Australian bush fires have caused devastation to many people and animals in recent months.

And now, a group of north east primary pupils, who were concerned about their teacher’s home town Down Under, have raised more than £1,200 to help koalas and other creatures who were caught up in the destruction.

The children in P3S at Macduff Primary School have raised funds for the Friends of the Koala Incorporated – who provide care and rehabilitation for the iconic little animals – and for Wires Wildlife Rescue.

The youngsters heard all about the immense fires which began in June 2019 and, when they learned the blazes were causing havoc just 20 miles from where their teacher’s friends and family stayed, they were determined to rally to the cause.

Macduff Primary teacher Lauren Scott with pupils (l-r) Aimee Whyte, Seran Mackie, Taylor Lovie and Caelan Hendry

Having relocated to Macduff from Lismore in New South Wales, their teacher, Lauren Scott, was delighted when her class wholeheartedly took on the project.

Mrs Scott said: “They helped create lucky squares, where other pupils could win Australian toys or chocolates – the kids gave up their play time to sell tickets.

“The dad of one of the girls in my class is a firefighter in Macduff, so at the school assembly at the end of January, we invited him along and paid tribute to the volunteers and firefighters involved.

“All of the school was encouraged to dress up as animals for the assembly.”

The class initially raised £833.36, but their efforts hit the headlines in Australia after the MP for Lismore, Janelle Saffin, praised their initiative.

Speaking to the local newspaper, she said: “This beautiful gesture from our friends at Macduff Primary School in Scotland will be greatly appreciated, not only by Friends of the Koala, but also the wider community in the Lismore area.”

The coverage brought in extra donations, one from Ms Saffin, and another from Jessica Brennan, who is friends with Mrs Scott.

In total, the class raised £1,287.52 to donate towards the animals.

Highlighting their passion, the class gave a presentation about how the bush fires came to their attention. And they explained that they feel they have a personal connection with Tennant Creek Primary School in Lismore.

Both sets of pupils have sent each other snacks and information about their respective schools – with the Macduff pupils reaching the conclusion, amid freezing temperatures in Scotland: “Their tables are the same, but they get to wear no shoes in class”.

However, the teachers on either side of the world have been most impressed by the way the youngsters all delivered the message:  “Everyone can help each other”.

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