Huge rainstorm sees water cascade into school’s library

Headteacher Pippa Osborne with Cllr Jon Hunt

Massive damage was caused to a Downend school’s library after torrential rain cascaded through the roof yesterday.

Pupils were working in the library at Christ Church Junior School in Pendennis Road when the downpour came shortly before 3pm.

They were escorted to safety and quick-thinking staff waded through water as they worked to rescue as many of the books as they could, covering them with tarpaulin as the rain poured down.

An electrician was called in immediately to make the area safe. A computer was damaged and about £2,000 worth of books were ruined.

Today headteacher Pippa Osborne said there had been an occasional drip through the roof of the library – as in seven or eight other areas of the school – but the sudden downpour saw it coming through into the library in sheets in three places.

She said that most of the school’s 10,000 books had been salvaged and a conservatory area in the school will become the makeshift library which it is hoped will be open next week.

The school is open as normal today and Mrs Osborne said she was very grateful to the 20 volunteers – some with no connection to the school – who had heard about what happened and have been in helping.

She also praised the staff, many of whom had come in early today to help.

Fortunately South Gloucestershire Council has said it is prepared to cover the cost of the roof repairs.

Cllr Jon Hunt, the council’s deputy leader and Cabinet Member for Children & Young People, said: “When I learned that the library, one of the most popular areas in the school among the pupils’, and thousands of books within had been damaged, I was horrified.

“Fortunately, the council has an emergency fund for such eventualities and, upon raising the issue with the rest of the Conservative Administration, I was delighted to see swift action resulting in an agreement that we would pay for the repairs.

“As soon as we made the decision, I visited the school with officers and met with headteacher Pippa Osborne to see the extent of the damage first hand and deliver the good news personally.

“Costings are now being worked up and we hope to begin the repairs as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile a GoFundMe campaign has been started to buy replacement books and has already raised more than £370.