EXETER City Football Club Captain, Pierce Sweeney, visited Morchard Bishop C of E Primary School to officially open the newly renovated library on Wednesday, March 6 and inspire the next generation of young readers.

Mr Sweeney commented that he was “delighted to be able to come down and open the new library”.

He added: “It is a lovely school with fantastic people so it was a pleasure to be involved.”

During the past six months, there has been a complete overhaul of the library space with local carpenter Peter Denford designing and building the bookshelves to fit the unique library space among the beams in the roof space of the original school building.

Academy Head, Sam Butler commented: “The library space has been somewhere that we have been looking to redesign and uplift since I arrived just over a year ago.

“We are aiming to ensure that all of the spaces in the school are places that we can all be really proud of and can inspire the children to flourish during their time with us and beyond. “It has been a significant investment of both time and money to achieve the space that we have, and it would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of both the school staff and our parents group, the Friends Of Morchard Bishop School (FOMBS).”

The FOMBS group made a significant contribution of £2,500 to help fund the project alongside a contribution from a sponsored walk event and money from the school budget.

Matt Matthew, Deputy CEO of The Link Academy Trust, commented: “It is great to see a thriving parent’s group that is able to financially support projects such as this.

“Small school’s budgets are stretched and although we are able to provide high quality resources and support our schools, working in partnership with parents is a valuable way to be able to provide outstanding experiences and spaces for our children.”

Gemma Yendell, Chair of the FOMBS group said: “It is great to see the funds that we have worked so hard to raise going towards supporting a big project such as the library at the school. The committee spend a lot of time to plan and run a number of fundraising events and activities and it is great that they are so well supported by the school and wider community. A big thank you to everyone involved.”

The library space is a central feature of the school’s reading offer and gives a platform for the children at the school to develop a love of reading from an early age.

There are a range of high quality fiction and non-fiction books and also spaces for “feature texts” to take centre stage.

Currently the genres and areas in focus are adventure texts, diversity, football and history.

To help support this further, the school has assembled a team of reading ambassadors to ensure that pupil voice is at the centre of further developments. Part of their role will be to work closely with Nicola Miners, the English lead who played a significant role in the library redesign, to promote reading to the other children through delivering assemblies, sharing book reviews and helping to select the focus books in the library space itself.

One of the school’s newly appointed reading ambassadors noted that they are, “really looking forward to making sure there are books for everyone in the library and that everyone feels excited when they pick up a book”.

The official opening event was part of a two-day reading celebration that saw a visit from The Bookery in Crediton to share its “Top Titles of 2024” and a full day of reading activities for World Book Day.

Mr Butler added: “Having Pierce and the team from Exeter City was a fundamental part of the opening and created a real buzz around the school.

“It is important for us to promote role models and inspire all of our children to get involved in reading and having someone such as Pierce, who the children really look up to, picking up a book and reading with them in the library will undoubtedly do this.”

Exeter City FC commented: “Community engagement is a significant focus for the club and providing role models for children is something that we pride ourselves on.”