Young nature lovers in Budleigh Salterton are gearing up to begin exploring a new outdoor classroom for children.
Pensioner Brian Shackleton, of Fore Street Hill, Budleigh Salterton – St Peter’s burial ground manager – raised more than £2,000 to create a community wildflower meadow and wildlife sanctuary before he retires.
St Peter’s Primary School pupils were presented with i-Spy nature books to use when the youngsters explore the outdoor classroom in the spring.
Brian, 82, said bird boxes and feeders, bat boxes and hedgehog houses had been positioned around the burial ground.
Some 600 wildflower plugs have been planted and a meadow sown at the top of the burial ground.
Brian’s legacy to leave a lasting outdoor classroom at the burial ground included presenting St Peter’s Primary School with i-Spy nature books and awards for youngsters completing outdoor challenges.
Widower Brian said: “The sanctuary is almost complete. I raised just over £2,300, which I give my sincere thanks to all who have donated.
“I just have to wait for spring to hopefully see the results of my efforts.”
St Peter’s headteacher Steve Hitchcock said: “We are so pleased to be able to honour Brian’s legacy in this way.
“We are planning on some trips to the burial ground in the spring term, when the flowers have started to bloom and the insects are busy at work.
“The children were very excited about using the books and being detectives, with the added incentive that Brian has provided some prizes for the best spotters.
“A big thank you to Brian who has done something incredibly thoughtful and generous.”
Earlier this year Brian said it was his ‘desire to leave a lasting legacy’ for St Peter’s burial ground, creating a wildlife and wildflower sanctuary for the community to use, maintained by groundsman, Larry Sampson.
His quest to champion nature was prompted by a burial ground visit in 2018 from the Council for the Preservation of Rural England as part of an inspection of Devon’s cemeteries.
Brian said the inspection noted the burial ground neglected to promote wildlife or wildflowers, inspiring the pensioner to act.
He said his desire to leave a countryside classroom for Budleigh was sparked by thoughts of retirement.
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