AN OVERGROWN wildlife area at a York school attracted the attention of volunteers who were looking to take on a community challenge.

Staff at Aviva York and Santander York gave up their day jobs on Friday and threw themselves into tackling a heavily overgrown area around a pond in the grounds of Poppleton Ousebank School.

Nicola Fort, a protection adviser at Santander UK, who was part of the team, said: "At the beginning of the day it was a complete wilderness. You couldn't even see the pond and the path was non-existent."

By the end of the day, however, the team had transformed the area, clearing the pond of dead weeds and reeds, cutting back towering nettles and clearing a path around the pond as well as an open area where pupils could have outdoor wildlife lessons. They also cleared and levelled an access pathway from the gate.

"We worked really hard and achieved more than we thought," said Nicola. "It was really enjoyable, and I think the school was really pleased. The head teacher came and had a look and was making plans for what the school could use it all for."

The project was co-ordinated by York Cares, which co-ordinates community projects for volunteers from York's businesses. It also won the support of both Jewsons, of Green Lane trading estate, and Kutters & Shannons, of Boroughbridge Road, which donated the use of gardening equipment for the day.