Thanks to the generosity of local businesswoman, Sally Shearn, pupils at Atlantic Academy, Portland, are enjoying the sight and smell of Christmas at the heart of their school.

Sally, who runs the New Star Inn in Fortuneswell, and husband Matthew who owns Island Laundry, responded to a plea from the school’s PTA for a real Christmas tree:

“I saw on Facebook that they were looking for a tree,” explains Sally, “and I thought we could do something to help. I have two children at Atlantic Academy –  in year 8 and year 11 – and two grandchildren there too. The school is part of the local community and that’s important to me.”

The 7 foot  Nordic Fir was supplied by The Bus Shelter, a charity supporting local rough sleepers:

“I have a friend who works with them,” says Sally, “so I knew that if I bought it from them, the proceeds would go to an excellent local charity, so it was a win-win!”

Emma Powell, Year 3 teacher and PTA liaison at Atlantic Academy, is delighted:

“We’re so grateful to Sally for her generosity. The tree is standing in a central point in the school, providing a festive backdrop for all the seasonal activities we have going on. The children are really enjoying the atmosphere and making decorations for it!”

Following Covid, a new PTA was formed and the organisation is making a significant contribution to the life of the school:

“The PTA has put together a huge calendar of enriching opportunities for our students, both inside and outside of the school. Along with them, people like Sally are the backbone of Atlantic Academy and we couldn’t do without their support. Of course, we’re always looking for volunteers to join us!”

For more information or to volunteer to join the PTA contact 

Or search Atlantic Academy PTA on Facebook.