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Blue Reef Aquarium has donated more than 30 fishy-themed soft toys to a Portsmouth primary school.
The toys were handed over to youngsters from Victory Primary School by the Southsea wildlife attraction as part of an initiative to encourage reading.
The event, which coincided with Book Week, saw pupils receive a soft toy plus a selection of books inside handmade reading bags.
“We heard an appeal which the school put out asking local businesses to donate marine-themed soft toys for the children,” said Blue Reef’s Hannah Butt.
“All the toys were ones we could no longer sell in our shop as they had small holes in them or the stitching had come undone.
“The school created its own sewing club with teachers volunteering to sew up any holes before going on to make the reading bags and handing them over to the children,” she added.
As well as delivering the soft toys staff from the Southsea aquarium also took their mobile rockpool to the school.
Teacher Zoe Lyndon said: “Reading is a fundamental skill for children and we as teachers know how important it is to encourage this skill, especially at home.
“All of our classes have animal names and most of these are to do with the sea so I thought it would be brilliant to include soft toys in the reading sacks.
“The bags were all handmade by teachers at the school and we put a soft toy and a couple of books in each of them.
“Without the generosity of the Blue Reef there is absolutely no way we could’ve afforded to do this project.
“We are hoping that making reading fun and exciting will encourage more children to take up reading,” she added.
Issued by Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information contact Hannah Butt or Jenna MacFarlane on 02392 875222.

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