BEAMING pupils of Kingfield Primary School traded toy diggers for the real thing as they met Bob the Builder at the Rydens Way development site.
The school was invited to the controversial building project by the William Lacey Group as part of a ‘Considerate Contractors’ scheme which helps improve relations between developers and the local community.
More than 40 kids got behind the wheel of all their construction yard favourites, the heaviest of which was the classic digger, tipping the scales at a whopping 13-tonnes – the equivalent of 173 teachers.
A competition was held to unearth the most creative name for two of the diggers and name plaques were fitted to the side of the machines after five-year-old Louie and Beth, eight, were announced as winners.
The winning entries were ‘Ryden’ from Louie and ‘Clever Cody’ from Beth.
Kingfield Primary deputy headteacher Sarah Clarke praised the initiative and encouraged more firms to follow suit and make events like this a regular fixture in their calendar.
She said: “A lot of the children live in the area and have seen the building work happening but never been able to get up close to the diggers.
“It’s really good that over the next couple of years they’ll be able to say ‘I’ve been on that digger, I know what it does and how it works’ – it will be really good for them.
“I had an email come through and I jumped at the chance – it was a great opportunity for the children. I don’t know many schools that get the chance to do things like this.
“The names are in our school colours so every time the children walk past they’ll see their diggers with their chosen names, it’s fantastic.”
William Lacey chief executive Chris Lacey outlined the importance of forging a stronger bond with the immediate community after residents protested the building of 42 new homes on the strip of land in Old Woking.
Mr Lacey said: “We’ve been dealing with Considerate Constructors for many years now and increasingly it is becoming important to recognise our place in the community.
“Liaising with the community and engaging with the community is an important part of our development.
“The hands on approach is very novel and after discussions with Kingfield Primary school it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.”