Our next lesson is ... Let it Snow!

Pupils at one rural Lancashire school enjoyed an early Christmas gift when they were surprised by snow. Enjoy our picture special.

A Lancashire headmaster made Christmas wishes come true when he arranged for it to snow at his school - again and again.

The Let it Snow wish was fulfilled with help from Santa’s helper : step forward local company North West Marquee Hire of Tarleton.

Andrew Scholz, headmaster at Kirkland and Catterall St Helen’s Church of England primary school said: “We had the most amazing Santa’s grotto and show machine delivered to our school. We reached out to North West Marquee Hire.”

Pupils at Kirkland and Catterall St Helen's school enjoy the snow Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

He explained when the owners (the Williams family) , heard it was a school, they responded with great generosity. Andrew said: “They decided to bring us everything at no cost to the school (it would cost thousands of pounds usually. It is such a show of true Christmas spirit.”

The end of term surprise left the school’s 153 pupils spellbound as they prepared to visit Santa’s grotto in a winter wonderland, complete with “snow” blizzards.

Andrew said: “They were absolutely flabbergasted. We took group of 10 at a time in. They played in the snow for a little time then looked in to Father Christmas and his elf. They sat down and introduced themselves and told what they wanted for Christmas.

“My business manager and I decided we wanted to do something particularly special for the children this year because obviously they would usually be going to the pantomime and all sorts of exciting things that we haven’t managed to do."

Headmaster Andrew Scholz leads the way to Santa's grotto Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

They had been looking to hire a marquee from North West Marquee Hire and spoke to manager Tony Williams.

Andrew continued: "We initially looked to hire a marquee for Father Christmas to sit in. Tony Williams said he could go one better than that and he could bring along a snow machine and deck it in decorations. I kept it a secret from all the staff and children with the help of my manager.”

For some youngsters at the school on The Green, Churchtown, near Garstang, the snow was a completely novel experience.

Andrew said: “The littlest ones didn’t even know what to do with snow. They’ve probably never seen a white Christmas here. We had a lot of fun teaching children how to throw snow around, be silly and play in it!"

Time for a Christmas photocall Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

They were also entertained by the grotto. Andrew said: "There was a Christmas pudding conveyor belt where elves are making pudding, things that lit up, and a Christmas tree. It would have cost us about £10,000 if we had wanted to do it ourselves. It was a winter wonderland.”

Tony Williams, manager of the company which is owned by his son and daughter Ben and Robyn Williams said: " For all of my family and staff it was an absolute pleasure for us. It was the highlight of our Covid year - it genuinely was."

He said the firm's team had been delighted to learn how much the children enjoyed their snow adventure. Tony also paid tribute to the company's staff saying it would not have been possible to set up the surprise without their hard work . He added: "We've been very fortunate as a company this year given what everyone's gone through. We've been financially sustainable and kept everyone in work. We just decided we could - we've got the equipment and we went ahead and did it. It was a good morale builder for the staff and the school. It was brilliant for the kids. It was just the best thing."

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An audience with Father Christmas Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

* The Lancashire Post is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. For unlimited access to Lancashire news and information online, you can subscribe here

More fun in the snow Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
This way to the grotto
Christmas wish time Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
They'll always remember the Christmas it snowed at school Photo: Kelvin Stuttard