Visit of the Story Boat
12th September 2018
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Surprised pupils at the School were amazed and excited to find an upturned boat-come-caravan in their playground when they arrived at school (Wednesday 12th September).   The Story Boat, ‘Vera’, in her new guise, was a haven for the children to carry out a series of workshops over three days led by owner, Gail McGarva, and her assistant, Diana.  In small groups they learnt about the history of ‘Vera’ and her former owner and crew, as well as how the innovative Gail has turned the boat into a fantastic museum and classroom.  Enthralled, they listened to tales of the sea and created beautiful wooden memory planks using traditional methods used in boat-making.

“Having the Story Boat in school this week has been a brilliant way to start the new academic year,” commented Claire Staple, headteacher, “The children have been truly inspired by tales of the sea told by Gail and Diana and they have produced some beautiful work capturing their thoughts and reflections.” The school has been keen to develop creativity within the classroom and to provide different ways to inspire the children’s imaginative writing and widen their vocabulary.  Alyssa, a pupil in Year 5, said, “Being in the Story Boat helped me to feel what it would have been like at sea a century ago.  I really enjoyed it when Gail shared the memories of the fishermen with us.”

At the end of the three days, the Story Boat was pulled and pushed by villagers through the village to the Rectory Gardens, followed by all the children dancing and accompanied with music, where it was based in connection with the weekend’s Veast of Folk.  There, it became the focus for an evening’s entertainment linked to the successful annual festival in aid of the RNLI.  Returning to the school after the procession, staff commented that several of the children had tears of sadness in their eyes as they had so enjoyed the whole experience and had become quite attached to this novel way of capturing the heritage of this part of the coast.

The Story Boat Project has involved the creation of a miniature maritime memories’ museum from an upturned boat in which people’s working memories of our coastline are being recorded and preserved.  Supported by local charity, Artsreach, it is appearing at various venues in Dorset.