A Cheddington wood carver has created a magnificent storytelling chair to inspire fairytales and fire imaginations at Heathwood Lower School.
Tom Batchelor, 30, owner of Woodview Fencing and Carving, turned a school tree trunk into a woodland throne ready for the autumn term.
The tree was going to be removed as its branches had started to fall off, but instead of letting it go to waste, Tom’s friend Jonathan Young, a care taker at the Leighton Buzzard school, thought his friend could turn it into something magical.
Tom said: “It was cordoned off while I did the work so people couldn’t come near, but the children kept spotting the different animals – ‘ooh look there’s a badger!’
“It slowly progressed and they would keep seeing new animals in the chair. I enjoyed it all really, from the end result to the response and the amount of applause from everyone. I’m so grateful.”
The creatures represent the four houses: Badger, Fox, Rabbit and Squirrel, while there is also a hedgehog and an owl, as well as the school’s shield logo.
Headteacher Susanne Dove, said: “The four houses form part of the values of education at Heathwood; it is at the heart of what we do. As well as House Captains we have a school council, sports council, fair trade council and rights respecting council.
“Pupil voice is very important at Heathwood. We want the children to grown and be good citizens who are involved with their community.”
Susanne added that the children enjoyed seeing the preservation of the tree and watching Tom at work.
Pupils’ comments included: “It was amazing seeing the fox’s tail emerge,” and “It’s made of wood but it looks so soft and fluffy.”
Tom started his own business last year and has been woodcarving for three years.
He lives with his partner Anna Tutty, 31, and their son Jesse, six months.