A very special shropshire Ark delivers school meals

Published on: 28th October 2023


From time to time we get stories that offer a truly uplifting message of hope amidst what may first appear a disaster.  Yesterday as many schools broke up for a much-needed half-term break, we enjoyed hearing the tale of one C E school in Bitterley where a very kind local farmer saved the day during the extreme conditions of Barbet.


Bitterley which is a tiny village just outside Ludlow in Shropshire is home to a small Church of England Primary school of 90 odd children and staff, led by executive headteacher Kerrie Lewis. Last Friday 20 October as storm Barbet raged and torrential rain fell Shropshire and Herefordshire, the tiny CE school in Bitterley began to worry about how it would cope.  


By 10:30 am most of the children had made it into school as the rain fell, staff worried about getting everyone back home at the end of the day.  They alerted local emergency services but recognised they were swamped with calls. The children were safe and warm and not in any immediate danger – but as time ticked on staff and children began to get hungry.  Usually, school lunches are brought in each day from kitchens at Ludlow School. Due to the rain, the usual delivery vans would unlikely make it through the flooded country lanes. School staff began to consider what they could feed the children whose tummies were starting to rumble.


A scramble through the kitchen cupboards revealed – you’ve guessed it - five loaves of bread and two fish fingers – you couldn’t make it up for a church school! Without a miracle, the staff needed another plan to feed everyone. One of the office team took the initiative and rang a local farmer for some help.  Thankfully he came up trumps driving his huge tractor, with a suitable trailer attached, through the flood waters, into Ludlow School car park, to the kitchens. He collected the food for the Bitterley children and then drove the tractor back through the rising flood waters and to the school. 


There was much joy at the site of the farm vehicle which proved to be the miracle ‘Shropshire Ark’ delivering all the school meals during the storm.

The day ended on a high note when a few hours later, the waters began to recede. It wasn’t a dove with an olive branch who brought good news, but an Amazon delivery driver who casually walked into the school office having made it through the local lanes by about 2 p.m. This news allowed the 4x4 army of local parents and volunteers to spring into action at home time getting all the children and finally the staff through the water and back home for the weekend.


We hope everyone at Bitterley CE Primary and all schools across our diocese enjoys a well earned half term break.  We also want to add a special thank you to the very kind local farmer who saved the school day for Bitterley pupils and staff.

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