Leamington school's woodland area is all set for winter thanks to green-fingered staff

A group from tyre company Bridgestone with offices in the town worked on the area at Campion Academy and also dropped off new equipment in an added show of support

The Bridgestone team at Campion Academy's Paintings Plantation.
The Bridgestone team at Campion Academy's Paintings Plantation.

Green-fingered Bridgestone staff were swapping sales leads and spreadsheets for shovels and spades, when they spruced up a much loved woodland at Campion Academy in Leamington ahead of winter.

Fourteen Bridgestone colleagues made the short journey from their Tachbrook Park offices to Paintings Plantation at the school, to tidy up the land.

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The volunteers also dropped off a brand new lawnmower and other gardening equipment in an added show of support.

The Bridgestone team at Campion Academy's Paintings Plantation.

The tranquil woodland setting provides an outdoor learning area for pupils and also represents an area of calm and relaxation for anyone affected by dementia including carers.

Its name commemorates the late Norman Painting OBE and his invaluable contribution to Age UK Warwickshire, as patron and supporter.

Many will also remember him as 'Phil Archer' of The Archers, in the long running BBC Radio 4 programme.

The area is maintained by volunteers from the local charity, Age UK Coventry and Warwickshire. Bridgestone volunteers donned gardening gloves to cut back hedges, paint an outside classroom area and decking, along with a multitude of other tasks.

Bridgetone's Andrea Manenti presents the new mower to Elizabeth Phillips MBE.

Elizabeth Phillips MBE, former chief executive of Age UK Warwickshire, said: “Paintings Plantation is a safe haven and an area of tranquillity for students and local dementia groups. It means a lot to a lot of people.

“Bridgestone helped us out before and carried out a lot of work before the pandemic hit. There is only a small group of us that looks after the land, so when you get 13 volunteers from a local company like Bridgestone, it makes such a difference.

“They have got so much done which would have taken us months to do on our own. Their support has been absolutely fantastic. It has been really valuable.”

The next big project at the plantation is the planting of 30 blossom trees courtesy of a grant from Warwickshire County Council. The first delivery will be towards the end of November, when more Bridgestone volunteers will return to dig holes and plant their own commemorative blossom tree.

Bridgestone’s north region managing director Andrea Manenti was one of the volunteers to get stuck in and he said the work was the least he and his colleagues could do.

He said: “It is a vital resource from and we were thrilled to be able to come down, show our support and provide some new gardening equipment for the cause. We’re glad to have helped and we look forward to visiting again soon.”