Esther Rantzen opens new hall at local school

The 'Shed' at Brackenbury School to be available for Community

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Pictured at the opening of The Shed at Brackenbury Primary School are (left to right) TV presenter and children's campaigner Esther Rantzen; council leader, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh; the borough's mayor, Cllr Minnie Scott Russell; BBC presenter and Brackenbury parent Adrian Chiles and Brackenbury headteacher Andrew McMahon.

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Donations towards equipping The Shed can be made payable to 'Brackenbury School PSA' and posted to Brackenbury School PSA, Brackenbury Primary School, Dalling Road, Hammersmith W6 OBA. For more details about the campaign email

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A new hall for local schoolchildren and the community has been opened at Brackenbury Primary School, in Hammersmith, by TV presenter and children's campaigner Esther Rantzen.

Dubbed 'The Shed' by campaigners who have raised an astonishing £60,000 to pay for renovation work, the Victorian building stands in the school playground and has now been transformed into a space for a school breakfast club, pupils' arts and sports activities as well as community events. However, parents and supporters of the fundraising appeal still need to raise a further £30,000 to pay for equipment such as blackout blinds, a stage and stage lighting. The campaign is led by Brackenbury Primary's Parent Staff Association.

Speaking at the opening of The Shed on Thursday (19 October) and the launch of the next stage of fundraising, former That's Life! presenter Ms Rantzen said: "It's great for the children to have somewhere they can take part in everything from a breakfast club to a film club and tap dancing. This is a real community effort, supported by parents who are determined to make sure their children get the facilities they need."

Adrian Chiles, BBC TV presenter and Brackenbury parent, also attended the opening and ran a fund-raising auction and raffle. The event raised £4,020, including donations and pledges, while White City Centre developers Westfield have pledged a further £1,000 towards the project. Among the items auctioned on Thursday night to raise money to equip The Shed were Brackenbury Primary t-shirts signed by film producer Steven Spielberg and Australian cricket star Shane Warne. A bottle of champagne signed by Fulham FC manager Chris Coleman was among the raffle prizes.

Mr Chiles, who has one daughter at Brackenbury Primary and another daughter in the school's nursery, has supported earlier fund-raising events for The Shed, which have included a fundraising auction and raffle led by former Chelsea and England footballer Graham Le Saux. "It's great what parents have achieved and I am really proud that my girls come here and that the community has such a fantastic school," said Mr Chiles, presenter of BBC2's The Apprentice: You're Fired, Match of the Day 2 and Working Lunch.

Also attending the opening of The Shed were council leader, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, and the borough's mayor, Cllr Minnie Scott Russell. The council has contributed £13,500 towards the project.

Cllr Greenhalgh said: "Pupils, parents and residents will all benefit from this imaginative and exciting project. The school's Parent Staff Association has shown tremendous energy and commitment in raising such a large sum of money to renovate this building and we are delighted to support their efforts. I hope everyone in the local area will give their full backing to the final phase of the fund-raising campaign."

Other donations to The Shed, since the fundraising campaign began in January this year, have come from John Lyon's Charity, which contributed £12,000; the Kobler Trust, which contributed £5,000; Earls Court and Olympia Charitable Trust; the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Oppenheimer Trust. Parents also raised money at a quiz night and school fairs.

The building project was overseen by the Parent Staff Association, led by former chair Andy Corrigan. Brackenbury pupils performed comic poems at Thursday's opening event and up-and-coming Texan pop star Misha Williams sang tracks from her debut album. Brackenbury Primary School headteacher, Andrew McMahon, said: "The Shed is going to be a huge asset to the school. It is a wonderful performance venue for the arts and a great space for PE. We hope that community groups will make full use of it as well. Our thanks go to everyone who has helped us get this far. It is a great day for Brackenbury."


October 24, 2006