A VISIT by teachers from Poland gave South Cumbrian youngsters a chance to find out about life in a former communist state.

The Mail, on January 24 in 1996, noted: "Poland's struggle to cast aside years of communist rule and become a democracy is being helped along by Millom schoolchildren.

"Four Polish teachers have been visiting the town's St James RC Primary School and Millom School.

"And a group of six teachers has also visited Alfred Barrow School in Barrow.

"They are all part of a contingent of 350 teachers visiting Britain through the Centre for Citizenship Education, which aims to support schools in promoting civic attitudes and democratic values among youth.

"Two of the teachers at St James' were shown around before taking part in a special assembly along with members of the town's Polish community.

"They then sat in on the school council - where the children make their own decisions - before being treated to Polish and English food prepared by Fr Frank Osman and members of the school council."

One of the visitors, Joanna Szurmiel, said she was ;fascinated and deeply touched" by her visit to the school.

"She said: "We didn't expect to find a Polish community in Millom and the children gave us a wonderful reception.

"They even learned a few Polish words which was very nice."

Another Polish teacher, Alina Kozinska, said: "The main impression I got from this school was the warmth from the children and staff.

"The biggest difference in the children is that our children are more nervous and stressed whereas here they are much more relaxed.

"This school is wonderful because the children here are so happy."

In 1988 the Mayor of Copeland Cllr Jim Close presented a certificate of commendation and a £50 cheque to the school as a runner-up in the Cumbria in Bloom competition.

The Mail, on September 9, noted: "Starting soon after Easter, it took the youngsters a month to plan and design the wildlife garden.

"The project even became part of the maths topic in the school.

"Photographs were taken of the various stages of development and two months later the ground was transformed with walls, paving and the flowers which won them the award.

"During the summer, the children sat in the garden and savoured the results of their labours. It was also used as a play area."