19th May, 2021

Stratford primary school inspired to help town's iconic swans

SWANS are the focus of a new support campaign from the Friends of Bridgetown Primary School.

The school’s Parent Teacher Association was inspired to fund-raise for Stratford-Upon-Avon Swan Rescue – run by former mayor Cyril Bennis – after time spent by the riverside during lockdown.

The PTA has created donation packs which include swan and duck food, an activity sheet, a poetry contest, and information about challenges the birds face on the river.

And, thanks to help from local artists, an art raffle also aims to raise money for the waterfowl as well as the school.

A spokeswoman said: “Having spent so much time near our lovely river over this last year of lockdown, the Friends team is working to recognize the efforts of SUA Swan Rescue while spreading knowledge and awareness of the swans on our river.

“In March 2020, Friends installed an external defibrillator at the school for the benefit of the wider community. In 2021, we want to support the great work that the team at Swan Rescue have been doing to protect such an iconic part of our beautiful town.”

Mr Bennis was responsible for drastically increasing the town’s swan population in the 80s, after lead poisoning from weights left by anglers and a shortage of food decimated the population.

With help, Cyril set up a swan reserve at the back of the Hilton Hotel, now the Crowne Plaza, where resident swans Tom and Roxanne, named after the hotel manager and Cyril’s wife, set up home. The pair were finally able to produce several broods of cygnets and ultimately the swan population increased.

Cyril has continued his work to help the swans, feeding them and rescuing ill and injured birds, as well as educating townspeople and visiting schools.

Click here for more information. The draw for the art raffle and the winner in the children’s poem contest will be announced on April 30, with a £10 waterstones voucher prize for the poetry winner.

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