A SPECIAL “friendship hut” has been installed at a school in memory of a teaching assistant who died this year.

Money for the covered seating area at Richmond CE Primary School had been largely raised by an all-day danceathon by staff and pupils, who wanted to raise money for a permanent memorial to much-loved teaching assistant, Liz Metcalfe.

She had worked at the school for 22 years, but sadly died earlier this year from motor neurone disease.

Beverly Owens, who worked with Ms Metcalfe for the past 15 years as a fellow teaching assistant, said she had been a great fan of Strictly Come Dancing so they decided to stage a fundraising dance day in school.

Ms Owens said: “We started with an assembly at 9.15am and each class did a half hour dance each all day, right from nursery to Year Six.

“Children and staff danced at lunch and break as well. A disco came into the school at night so in the end the children danced from 9am in the morning until 8pm at night.

“We ended with a whole school conga around the school field.

“She had lived in a house that backed on to our field and her family came out to watch the conga.”

The installation is being used as a “friendship hut” where children can find a friend to play with, as well as shelter from the weather.

The school raised £1,944, which included a £500 donation from Friends of Richmond Church of England (FORCE).

Ms Owens added: “She was a well-loved member of staff and extremely kind. We wanted a lasting memento to her and she wanted something beneficial for the children.”