CHEER: Jean Pattison, Audrey Beck and Elaine Geldard decorate the school path
CHEER: Jean Pattison, Audrey Beck and Elaine Geldard decorate the school path

AN award-winning environmental group brought some Easter cheer to primary school pupils and West Auckland residents alike with their latest project.
The dark and gloomy December mornings were brightened up at Oakley Cross school when West Auckland in Bloom put up Christmas decorations along their daily route to class.
Last week they put up rabbits, eggs, chicks and other themed decorations, bringing a splash of colour to the same school path.
Volunteers also placed a large cross covered with crocheted daffodils on the village green.
The group, which was started two years ago, was last month honoured as the overall winner in the Durham County Council Environment Awards’ places and space category.
The team was also highly commended in the volunteer category after being nominated by the council’s civic pride officer Dean Henry.
Jean Pattison, from the West Auckland group, said: “We were ecstatic because we
didn’t expect it. We were overwhelmed, we really were, all the volunteers were.”
Apart from bringing colour to the village green by planting thousands of daffodil and crocus bulbs, and filling planters with perennials, the group also took on the difficult job of sprucing up the neglected pathway to Oakley Cross school.
Organiser Audrey Beck said: “This pathway gives us the most pleasure. All the plants down here are what people have given – nothing has been bought. It is really uplifting when you look at the before and after photos.
“It is my personal opinion that the back of the village should be as good as the front of the village.”
The cross that has been placed on the green was built by volunteer John Sewell and decorated with woolly daffodils crocheted by his wife Evelyn and other members of the village knitting group.
Several group members this month also took part in a village litter pick organised by parish chairman Cllr George Smith along with county councillor Rob Yorke and former Teesdale MP Helen Goodman.
Some ten bags of rubbish were collected during the activity on Saturday, March 20.