THE historic surroundings of Fountains Abbey were the perfect inspiration for students in a unique new link between the World Heritage Site and Ripon Grammar School.

The National Trust property provided the backdrop for imaginary public events the youngsters were tasked with developing as part of a literacy project.

The school’s literacy coordinator, Sally Dring, said: "We held a pilot project with Fountains Abbey last year so this is the first time we've done this for real.

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"The initiative is based around literacy but also incorporates numeracy, history, business and other subjects.”

Fountains Abbey learning officer Emma Manners visited the school to brief the students on their task - to develop an event incorporating the unique character of the place and appealing to a range of visitors.

They were given an imaginary budget of £200 plus resources including water, power, tables, chairs, rugs, gazebos and a catering barbecue, and the services of a member of staff and two volunteers.

Divided into groups, the students had to decide the exact location of their event within the estate.

"In outlining the task to the students I kept the brief as close to a 'real' event as possible, including all the things we have to consider when planning an event, in particular thinking about the target audience," said Ms Manners.

Among the ideas the students came up with was a Cluedo evening, a masquerade ball, medieval games and film screenings.

The students will be judged on the way they write about the project and the marketing materials they produce to promote their event.

Student Lucie Algret, 14, of Ripon, said: "It's very dramatic, definitely inspiring."