AN outdoor stage inspired by the memory of a much-loved dinner lady has been officially opened.

Children at Tow Law Millennium Primary School, in Tow Law, were joined by Durham County Councillor for Tow Law, Richard Manchester, to officially cut the ribbon on the performance space on Thursday.

The facility was inspired by the memory of long-serving dinner lady, Yvonne Little, who worked at the school for 25 years and saw generations of children come through the doors.

Sadly, Mrs Little, passed away in February 2018 from a short and sudden illness.

Headteacher, Lisa Jackson, said the children were all heartbroken by the loss of their dinner lady - who they called Miss Yvonne - and decided they wanted to create and outdoor stage as tribute to all the times she watched them perform their own 'shows' in the school yard over her years.

Mrs Jackson said: "The children loved Mrs Little and wanted to a place to celebrate her memory as Yvonne often loved to stand outside and watch all the children perform. They would do little dances for her and we held X Factor in school too so they decided to have a stage to play and live out their dreams."

She added: "The children absolutely love it and play on it every day."

The specialist stage cost around £2,000 to build.

Mrs Jackson said the initial funding of £254.20 came from the collection from Mrs Little's funeral service and the children quickly organised several fundraisers to boost funds. She thanked all the parents and carers for their support.

They were also supported by the town council and received more than £1,000 from Cllr Manchester through his Neighbourhood Budget.

Another staff member also donated bench which has been placed opposite the stage for any spectators.

Cllr Manchester said he was delighted to officially declare the stage open.

He said: "I'm quite happy to support the project and it's nice to see the kids go above and beyond because it was their idea.

"It's just lovely to see children in primary school engaging in the wider community - it's fantastic to see."

Mrs Jackson, who has been headteacher for nearly 18 years, added: "I just think our children are outstanding - they're a credit to us. I'm very proud of the children."