Hundreds of children filled a Buckinghamshire village with rainbows on Friday to symbolise hope beyond the coronavirus crisis.
Parents of pupils at Stoke Poges School received a message late on Thursday requesting that all children attending school the next day dress in bright colours.
“We ask that everyone wears bright, rainbow coloured clothes to signify our hope for the weeks and months ahead,” said headteacher Liz Astley.
From facepaints to full outfits, more than 300 children, aged four upwards, filled the streets of their village with colour as they walked to school. Others already in isolation waved from windows.
Many are taking part in a village-wide rainbow-spotting game to cheer up children during the ‘social distancing’ period.
All the children have created their own rainbows to put in windows, so that families walking around can play ‘spot the rainbow’ as they get their daily exercise.
Danielle Wright’s son Alfie wore a rainbow painted into his hair and a bright outfit.
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Just a few days ago she lost a relative to coronavirus.
She said: “Coronavirus is awful, the situation is scary, and the thing is some people still don’t grasp the gravity of the situation. We need to take this seriously but we need to be careful of how it impacts on children, and what we say around them. I think it’s lovely what the school are doing today, we need a bit of colour and to know that there are better days to come.”
Amellie Barrett-Fullchin is already in self-isolation but the six-year-old was cheered up by friends waving through the window as they walked to school, and she joined in by dressing in rainbow colours.
Mum Dani told Yahoo News UK: “Amellie didn’t want to miss out so she put a rainbow in the window and waved to friends as they passed. It’s a tough time but the village is pulling together to keep everyone’s spirits up. We are lucky to have such a supportive community.”
Boris Johnson announced on Thursday that schools in England would close until further notice from Friday afternoon.
Stoke Poges resident and veterinary nurse Marie Higgins runs the Mutts & Moggies boarding kennels in the village and has seen a huge fall in business as customers are forced to cancel their travel plans. As she dropped her two children at school, she told Yahoo News UK: “A lot of local people are suffering, but the village is pulling together. This Rainbow Day has really given everyone a reason to smile at a very worrying time. The school have been amazing.”
Other children paraded through the school gates with balloons and flags, all smiling as teachers greeted them.
Parents waved and smiled at each other as they thanked staff and said goodbye to other parents.
“We’re all keeping our distance but we are going to face this together,” said another parent.
The school will close at 3.15pm tonight until further notice.